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SBD Global/September 14, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Neil Black Appointed New Performance Director By U.K. Athletics

A former physiotherapist "has been given the task of replacing CHARLES VAN COMMENEE" and ensuring that Team GB build on the golden memories of MO FARAH and JESSICA ENNIS at Rio in four years’ time, according to Doug Gratton of the LONDON TIMES. NEIL BLACK, who worked with both of Britain’s iconic Gold Medal-winners in the build-up to the London Olympics, "has been appointed to the position of U.K. Athletics performance director" after the resignation this week of Van Commenee, the head coach. Van Commenee said, "If I were ever CEO of a national athletics federation or even Olympic Association, Neil Black is the first guy I would call and try to hire" (LONDON TIMES, 9/13). The London GUARDIAN wrote that UKA "has not had anyone in that post since '08," when DAVE COLLINS left, with the responsibility since then shared jointly between Van Commenee and CEO NIELS DE VOS. Black, "a pivotal figure in the success of British athletics for 20 years," will oversee the next Olympic cycle to the 2016 Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in London. Black said, "It is an honour to be given the chance to lead the Olympic and Paralympic task force and be asked to lead colleagues with whom I have worked hand in glove for the last four years." Black's first main duty "will be the appointment of a new Olympic head coach" to replace Van Commenee, who will assist in the process (GUARDIAN, 9/13).
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