Christian Malcolm ‘disappointed’ after Olympic head coach role scrapped

The UK Athletics Olympic head coach, Christian Malcolm, has expressed his deep disappointment after his role was scrapped in a restructure following the team’s poor performance at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

A new role of technical director – “with extensive coaching knowledge” – is being introduced, with the former British sprint head coach Stephen Maguire expected to be named shortly.

In a statement UKA said it would discuss other potential roles with Malcolm later this summer, but he would stay on for next month’s world championships in Eugene and August’s European championships in Munich.

“I am very disappointed to hear about the news but understand the rationale around this decision,” Malcolm said. “My priority now is to continue working in the same way, maintaining professionalism and doing my job throughout the summer. I am fully focused on supporting our athletes and coaches, during this extremely busy summer for our sport.

“We have some incredibly talented athletes. I’m looking forward to seeing them compete and supporting those individuals towards the world and European Championships, as well as representing their home nations during the Commonwealth Games.”

Mark Munro, the interim CEO for UKA, said the organisation was extremely grateful and appreciative to Malcolm for his time and efforts. “Taking on board a role during a pandemic and the associated challenges that brings – alongside staffing and structure changes – has been incredibly challenging,” he said. “He has worked hard to steady the ship and continued to be professional throughout.

“Unfortunately given all the changes we need to make and the greater prioritisation for investment into personal coaches, the Olympic head coach role does not sit within the revised structures. However, we have made a commitment to work with Christian over the summer with the potential for exploring other roles within the structure to enable us to maintain his involvement with UKA.

“Ensuring the WCP [world-class programme] is in the right shape to support athletes towards the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games is an absolute priority for UKA.”