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British Athletics’ medal-winning relay coaches receive recognition

British Athletics’ medal-winning relay coaches receive recognition

Benke Blomkvist, Christian Malcolm and Stephen Maguire are among the winners at the UK Coaching Awards

Benke Blomkvist, Christian Malcolm and Stephen Maguire – three coaches who helped GB’s men’s 4x100m team to gold at the IAAF World Championships in London – have jointly received the High Performance Coach of the Year award at the 2017 UK Coaching Awards.

After coaching the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m teams to bronze medals at the Rio Olympic Games, the successful trio worked with all the relay squads to make history at the World Championships in the UK capital, with all four teams winning medals and Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake getting gold.

Maguire (pictured above, centre), head of sprints, hurdles and relays at British Athletics, said: “We are delighted to accept this award on behalf of the whole team effort that resulted in relay success at the World Championships in London.

“In particular we would like to thank each of the individual athletes and their personal coaches for their support of the relay programme along with the support staff, and the wider team.

“The guys did fantastically well to win the world title in the 4x100m in London. We have an extremely talented group of sprinters and a great group of coaches around them and we hope to achieve more success on the track as we head towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

Blomkvist (pictured above, right), senior national institute coach for hurdles and sprints, said: “As a personal coach who is involved with the relay programme the greatest thing is to see our athletes achieve success. As coaches we don’t covet recognition, our role is to ensure our athletes are best prepared to succeed on the highest stage. Danny, CJ, Adam and Nethaneel produced a standout performance this summer and one that we are all very proud of.”

Malcolm, technical lead for sprint relay teams, said: “It is a privilege to be recognised as High Performance Coach of the Year alongside Stephen and Benke, especially against such a strong shortlist. I would like to thank the athlete’s personal coaches for their contribution. The boys produced a special performance in London and it is great to be working as the technical lead for the sprint relay programme. It was a memorable summer for the sprint relay team and I look forward to working with them and their coaches as they pursue further success in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, Dudley’s Rus Smith won the Coach Developer of the Year award at the event which was held at The Honourable Artillery Company, City of London, on Thursday.

Smith, who works for StreetGames, was recognised for his work in developing coaches, staff and volunteers who are changing lives in some of the most challenging and deprived communities in the UK.

He has developed a support programme called ‘Coach Mate Connector’ that has been integrated into the work of StreetGames and delivered nationally, outside of the classroom. The concept is based on trust and respect and enables people to successfully build and improve their professional development alongside formal training.

“What an honour to have been announced as Coach Developer of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards,” said Smith.

“Coaches are so important, and it’s vital to ensure that even coaches are developed properly, so I am glad that my work, and the work of everyone at StreetGames and the projects we work with has been recognised.”

Mark Gannon, chief executive officer of UK Coaching, said: “The 20th anniversary of the awards has seen some of the best examples of coaching throughout the nation celebrated. We would like to thank all of the finalists for their incredible services to coaching.

“We saw a record number of finalists nominated and our independent judging panel deliberated long and hard to acknowledge the people and organisations that dedicated their time to the development of others through coaching.

“I remember watching the men’s 4x100m relay at London 2017 and the stadium erupting when GB won gold. What amazing memories we all now have, largely thanks to the hard work and dedication of Benke, Christian and Stephen. We are delighted to have been able to recognise their fantastic work.

“Likewise, developing coaches is no easy task, however, Rus has done an excellent job in giving the coaches the support and guidance they need to develop professionally. He is fully deserving of the Coach Developer of the Year award.”

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