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SBD Global/May 16, 2013/People and Pop Culture

UK Athletics Head Coach Peter Eriksson Quits After Only Five Months On The Job

UK Athletics has confirmed that head coach PETER ERIKSSON "is to quit just five months in the job, threatening to undermine an expansive restructuring of the sport at elite level following the London Olympics," according to Owen Gibson of the London Guardian. Eriksson will leave his British Athletics post at the end of June, "having asked to be released from his contract in order to return to Canada to be with his family." Performance Dir NEIL BLACK "will double up as head coach for the world championships in Moscow." The 60-year-old Swede said, "Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step. There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world" (GUARDIAN, 5/15). In London, Rick Broadbent wrote it is a "hugely embarrassing blow" to UK Athletics as it tries to build on the success of last year's Olympics and Paralympics. Black had described the Swede as "a rare talent" when he moved over from his role with the Paralympics program last October. Now the team will go to the World Championships in Moscow in August "without a head coach." UK Athletics CEO NIELS DE VOS said, "This is very much about the human face of performance sport. It is easy to talk about what it means for us but this is a personal issue and whilst we would love for him to stay, we can only be supportive and wish him the best" (LONDON TIMES, 5/15). Also in London, Simon Hart wrote Black said, "This is a big disappointment, but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/15).
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