January 19, 2021

Christian Malcolm: New UK Athletics head coach says he is not ‘new Pep Guardiola’

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Christian Malcolm – It’s not about being the first black head coach

Christian Malcolm says he is not “the new Pep Guardiola” after starting his role at UK Athletics.

At the time, UKA chief executive Joanna Coates said the former Great Britain sprinter was “our Pep”, referring to Manchester City’s manager.

But the Welshman said: “It was very flattering, Pep’s a very good coach. But I wouldn’t say I’m the new Pep Guardiola, I’m just Christian Malcolm.”

A former world, European and Commonwealth Games medallist, Malcolm competed at four Olympics and says getting the GB squad ready for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games next year is top of his agenda.

“It’s making sure that our athletes are well prepared,” he told BBC Sport. “We’re in a global pandemic so it’s a big challenge as it is, trying to get our athletes to train well and stay focused.

“As athletes, we always talked about what we could do to impact the sport but you’ve got to put yourself in a position to have the opportunity to make change,” he added.

“I’m fortunate enough that I’m in this opportunity now and it’s very exciting.”

Since retiring as an athlete in 2014, Malcolm has had coaching roles with the successful British relay squads, as well as working with the UK Paralympic team and Disability Wales.

He was previously head of performance at Australia Athletics but played down the significance of being UK Athletics’ first black head coach.

“For me, it’s not about that. It’s about being good enough to do the job regardless of my skin colour,” he said.

“I went through the [recruitment] process and I feel like I got the job on merit. I know it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be challenging.

“If anything, being probably one of the youngest coaches is a bigger thing.”

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