13th September 2012


13 September 2012

UKA have today unveiled a key part of the team that will take the sport through the next Olympic cycle and beyond to a home World Championships in London in 2017.

Following Tuesday’s announcement that Charles van Commenee is to leave his post as Olympic Head Coach, UKA have appointed Neil Black to the post of Performance Director, with immediate effect. One of Black’s first duties will be the appointment of a new Olympic Head Coach to replace van Commenee.

Black has been a pivotal figure in the success of Britain’s top athletes for 20 years. Initially as a Physiotherapist and, since 2009, as the man in charge of performance support services, science and medicine.  The lead up to 2012 has seen him coordinate all support elements for Team GB athletes, and he personally managed the support programmes for Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah.

Having already worked closely alongside van Commenee and Paralympic Head Coach Peter Eriksson under the leadership of CEO Niels de Vos as part of UKA’s Olympic and Paralympic task force, Black will assume his new duties with immediate effect.

UKA Chief Executive Niels de Vos said: “Neil Black assuming the role of Performance Director is the culmination of succession planning we began when Charles first signed up as Olympic Head Coach on a four year deal in Beijing. Moving him from Head Physiotherapist into a general leadership role four years ago was done very much with this outcome in mind.

“He has been the ‘glue’ in the Olympic Task Force system I created, ensuring the right people, places and performance culture was in place to support the Head Coaches of the Olympic and Paralympic teams.”

Outgoing Olympic Head Coach Charles 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.  I am one hundred per cent happy that he is the right man, within the right structures, to push on with the next phase of the ten year plan we devised together back in 2008”

Neil 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.  The performance team has worked hard to change the structures and cultures of our sport and I very much look forward to working in partnership with colleagues to build on the success of the last four years as we continue on our journey to 2017.”

View Neil’s biography here