Black makes mark

The Northern Echo: NEW PLANS: Black NEW PLANS: Black

UK ATHLETICS performance director Neil Black has confirmed restructuring plans around a single High Performance Institute and revealed the first coaches to be based in Loughborough.

But Toni Minichiello, the coach of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, is still waiting to hear what role – if any – he will have.

The performance coaches employed by UKA will work in a full-time capacity from Loughborough, but two further forms of support will be offered to coaches of athletes on the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP).

Under ‘Coach Based Support’, coaches who lead a group of potential world level medallists will be employed full time in that coaching capacity.

And under ‘Athlete Based Support’, coaches who work with individual athletes who have world-level medal performances or potential will receive financial support.

That category would appear to fit Minichiello, who was employed by UKA as an Olympic coach and named Coach of the Year earlier this month.

However, it is understood that the level of financial support would require Minichiello to seek other work and therefore cut down on the time he can spend with Ennis.

Black said last week that the restructuring plans were the ‘‘harder and sharper’’ focus required to ensure Britain’s athletes win more medals at the highest level.

Loughborough will be used as a central hub for elite athletes and coaches, a move which will lead to some coaches being made redundant.

And although the likes of Ennis and Mo Farah, who are based in Sheffield and Oregon respectively, will not ultimately be required to move to Loughborough, Black believes centralising services is vital.

After confirming the appointments of Rana Reider, Terrence Mahon, Aston Moore, Fuzz Ahmed and Steve Fudge, Black said: ‘‘Bringing all of our very best staff together into a single centre is absolutely central to the vision for investing National Lottery and UK Sport support in order to maximise British athletics medals in future years, in particular in Rio 2016 and at the World Championships in London in 2017.

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