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New UK Athletics chief shuns ‘medals at all costs’ mentality

By PA Sport Staff

New UK Athletics chief executive Joanna Coates insisted she does not want “medals at all costs” as she takes over the difficult role with the sport in turmoil.

UKA has recently published the results of its independent review into the handling of Mo Farah’s former coach Alberto Salazar, which prompted performance director Neil Black to leave his role last year – becoming one of a number of senior figures to do so in recent years.

Coates wants to restore trust in the UKA after a separate review by UK Sport was launched, adding: “The opportunity to change a sport and make people proud of it again is something I couldn’t resist.”

Neil Black is one of several recent high-profile departures from UK Athletics (Adam Davy/PA)

She told the Sunday Telegraph: “The board has given me the remit to make changes to ensure this organisation gets back to where it should be.

“What that team looks like that drives it forward, let’s see. There will be major change in the organisation, and that doesn’t just mean people. That means policy, procedures, how we liaise with other organisations.”

Coates was chief executive of England Netball as the team won Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 but she insists success in major competitions is just one part of her vision for the sport.

She said: “I wrote a list of what I wanted to achieve in the sport before I started and the big one at the top was that perception had changed.

“I do not want medals at all costs. I hope that Dina (Asher-Smith) wins. I believe she will and we want her to.

“But it’s about her story, her journey in athletics and what athletics can bring to anybody that participates. That’s what it should be about.”