21st April 2020


21 April 2020

Neil Black was a vital figure at UK Athletics for nearly three decades contributing to some of the most successful moments in the history of the sport in the country. 

A Chartered Physiotherapist, Neil began working with athletics in 1992 and was employed as Chief Physiotherapist at the governing body in 2004 before moving onto the role as Sports Medicine and Science Lead three years later.

Neil was appointed Performance Director in 2013 by which time he had worked closely with and aided in some of the best moments for athletics in the UK, including the famous Super Saturday at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In addition to Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford, Black had a hand in the Olympic successes of Dame Kelly Holmes, Denise Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, Steve Backley, Roger Black, Phillips Idowu, Kelly Sotherton, Katharine Merry, Steve Smith, Linford Christie and Iwan Thomas as well as World Championship winners Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson.

As Performance Director, Neil oversaw further great moments for the sport in the country including Farah’s historic retention of his Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m titles at Rio 2016 and the 2015 World Championships the year before where Farah also retained his 5,000m and 10,000m titles and both Ennis-Hill and Rutherford claimed gold three years after the tremendous success in 2012.

As well as those historic moments in 2016 and 2015, in Moscow in 2013 – Neil’s first major global championships as Performance Director – Christine Ohuruogu regained her global 400m title while on home soil in 2017 the British men’s 4x100m relay team claimed their first ever world title. 

Neil led the British team to their best ever haul at the European Championships in Zurich in 2014, topping the medal table with 12 golds and 23 medals in total.

In one of his last major events in the role Neil again led the team to a historic medal total as the British team finished the European Indoor Championships on home soil in Glasgow with 12 medals including a second successive double-double for Laura Muir. 

Prior to beginning his professional career as a physiotherapist, Neil was a talented distance runner through which he would fall in love with the sport and move on to dedicating his life to supporting athletes. 

Since leaving the role of Performance Director in October 2019,  he had been continuing to support a number of athletes and coaches as an advisor.

Neil was an extremely popular member of staff throughout his time at UKA and will be hugely missed by those that knew and worked with him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.