The eight coaches who comprised the inaugural intake of UK Sport’s Elite Coach scheme back in 2004 graduated in front of their peers at the World Class Coaching Conference last night.
Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and UK Sport CEO John Steele presented the graduates with their certificates at a ceremony at The Belfry, the West Midlands venue for the prestigious annual event.
The graduates were the original eight coaches selected for the scheme which was launched three years ago. Since then, Elite Coach has gone from strength to strength with over 25 further coaches currently on the three year programme from 18 different sports.
The scheme aims to accelerate the development of the nation’s most exciting coaching prospects. The focus has been on practical applications to elite coaching, and there has been a strong emphasis on the skills required to lead a high performance programme and manage a team of expert support staff in order to maximise athletic performance. Each coach has benefited from quality learning experiences featuring the latest international research presented by leading experts.
Olympic rowing gold medallist Tim Foster was amongst the group present to receive their certificates last night and said: “When I was selected for the scheme three years ago, I asked myself what more it could teach me about rowing after 15 years in the sport. I soon realised that there was much more to learn. The experience gained from working with both experts from across the spectrum – and with each other – has proved invaluable and on behalf of the group I’d like to say a huge thank you to UK Sport.”
Last month, UK Sport announced its intake for 2007, including Olympic Curling Gold Medallist Rhona Martin. Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s Director of Elite Sport, said: "Our intention is to take some of the most promising coaches that British sport has to offer and to expose them to the best practitioners from the sport sector and beyond - wherever they happen to be in the world. Coaches will play a critical role in our ambition to move up the medal table in Beijing, Vancouver 2010, and critically London 2012. As such, Elite Coach represents a key strategic investment in our drive for success and, as the past two years have shown, it is capable of delivering results in an accelerated timeframe,” she added.
The eight graduates are:
• Jon Amos, powerlifting
• Tim Foster, rowing
• Mike McFarlane, athletics
• Graeme Randall, judo
• Paul Ratcliffe, canoeing
• Kevin Renshaw, swimming
• Adam Sotheran, diving
• Nick Strange, rowing.