Eriksson to step down as British Athletics head coach

15 May 2013 / 11:27

Peter Eriksson has cited personal circumstances as the reason behind his decision to leave his post as British Athletics head coach at the end of June and return to Canada to be with his family.

Eriksson was appointed Olympic head coach back in October, replacing the outgoing Charles van Commenee who stepped down from the role soon after the London 2012 Olympics.

The 60-year-old led Britain’s track and field athletes to 29 medals at the London 2012 Paralympics – breaking down to 11 gold, seven silver and 11 bronze – before switching to the Olympic programme.

As Olympic head coach he led Britain to eight medals at the European Indoor Championships in March, including four golds, but will leave his post at the end of June to be with his family in Canada.

Eriksson will take charge of the British team for the European Team Championships in Gateshead from June 22-23 with performance director Neil Black overseeing head coach duties.

Black will do so for the remainder of the summer, including the World Championships in Moscow, and Eriksson said: “Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step. 

“There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world. At present I have no plans, but accept that if I am to take any other job in sport it will be a step down. 

“Athletics in Great Britain receives the best possible support through the National Lottery, and that, coupled with the performance structure here means it is every coach’s dream to hold this position.

“However no job is more important than family and children, and personal circumstances mean that mine need me to be back in Canada.”

And Black, who was appointed to the post of performance director in September, insists he is relishing the remainder of time he has left working with Eriksson.

“This is a big disappointment but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces,” said Black.

“Working with Peter we have put together a team of elite coaches leading each of the Event Groups based at the Institute and they will able to help me cover the Head Coach duties for the summer with minimal disruption.

“But for now we are looking forward to a strong team performance in Gateshead and I look forward to working alongside Peter towards this goal.”

© Sportsbeat 2013