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UK Athletics

npi management and operations 

Senior Performance Leadership Team

The role of the Senior Performance Leadership Team is to further develop and deliver the overall strategy for the Tokyo 2020 Athletics World Class Programme for both Olympic and Paralympic events. The group is led by the Performance Director and made up of the senior staff who have lead responsibility for key elements of that strategy which include: Coaching, Performance Support, Pathways and the NPI. The group meet regularly to review progress against agreed key objectives within the plan and are responsible for reporting back to UK Sport on an annual basis.

Neil Black (Performance Director)
  • Develop the Culture, the People and the Places where British Athletes can thrive.
  • Oversee delivery of the World Class Performance Plan system (Olympic and Paralympic).
  • Management of the relationship with UK Sport and English Institute of Sport.
  • Continuation of management of culture.

Neil has worked with UK Athletics and athletes attending most championships since the 1992 Paralympic Games. He was Sports Medicine and Science Lead from December 2007 until becoming the Performance Director after London 2012.

Jenny Close (Head of World Class Programme Operations) 


  • Responsible for the overall delivery of World Class Programme operations across the Olympic and Paralympic Programmes. 
  • Responsible for the administration and logistical support for GB and NI teams from age group championships to Olympic and Paralympic Games. 


Jenny has attended numerous championships as a Team Manager since starting with British Athletics in 2008. Jenny has been responsible for the logistics and operations for the last two Olympic Games at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and now heads the department that is responsible for both the Olympic and Paralympic operations. Previously Jenny worked at GB Rowing and the British Olympic Association in performance operation roles.

Paula Dunn (Para Athletics Head Coach)
  • Oversees the delivery of the World Class Performance Plan for the Paralympic Programme.
  • Primary focus on winning more global medals whilst overseeing the strategy for the future development of Paralympic Athletics.

Paula represented Britain at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and is a Commonwealth silver medallist. Paula is also a Level 4 Performance Coach and an experienced Team Leader.  Prior to being appointed head coach to the Paralympic Programme, Paula was the Paralympic Transition Manager for British Athletics.

Tommy Yule (Head of Performance Support)
  • Responsible for leading and managing sport science and medicine support with a view to ensuring that it has an impact upon performance and aligned to all activities across the World Class Programme.

Tommy joined British Athletics as Head of Performance Support in 2017 after previously working for British Weight Lifting as Performance Director. Prior to this he had over ten years’ experience delivering and leading strength and conditioning support in high performance sport. During this time he worked for the English Institute of Sport in which he was a lead for a number of sports before joining British Athletics in 2009 as Head of Olympic and Paralympic Conditioning. As an athlete Tommy was an international level athlete winning 5 Commonwealth Games medals and his British record still remains unbeaten after 16 years.  

Steve Paulding (National Performance Institute Director)
  • To lead on the strategic development of the NPI to best support the overall delivery of the Athletics Performance System.
  • To work closely with all performance departmental heads to ensure the NPI meets the needs to support the wide range of requirements across all areas.
  • To work closely with Loughborough University to maximise the opportunities of being based within their Elite Training Centre environment.
Steve’s background in sport encompasses all areas having been an international track cyclist, a Head Olympic Coach along with working within the Scottish National Sports agency and Scottish Government. Steve’s last role was as Performance Director for Scottish Golf where he led their extensive performance programme for seven years. Steve has over 15 years of senior performance management experience backed up with his knowledge and understanding of the delivery end of high performance sport as an athlete and coach.

Jon Roberts (Talent Director)
  • Responsible for developing the strategy for talent seeking to improve elite athlete identification, development, confirmation, progression and retention.
  • The aim is to build a talent system with a clear pathway to elite, across the home countries.
  • The outcome is to increase and sustain the number of age-group medallists (primarily under-20) progressing to finals or medals at senior Olympics and the number of eligible athletes progressing to each level of the development pathway in para-athletics.

Jon joined us from Rugby Football League (RFL) where he was the Director of Performance and Development. He was responsible for the England Performance, Talent, Development and Coaching strategies and the talent system across Super League. Prior to the RFL, Jon was Deputy Chief Executive of Sports Coach UK (now UK Coaching) and a member of the Active Sport team at Sport England leading on coaching. Jon was Team Manager of the England Rugby League team at the 2014 Four Nations and test series win against New Zealand in 2015.

Barry Fudge (Head of Endurance)
  • Responsible for the strategy to develop endurance running in Britain with a firm focus on winning medals.
  • He works with home country partners to develop the pathway from entry to elite level performance and is responsible for the delivery of the elite end of the pathway.

Dr Barry Fudge completed his undergraduate degree and his PhD in Physiology from the University of Glasgow. His PhD focused on the environmental factors leading to the success of elite East African runners. During that time he worked with a number of runners in Kenya and Ethiopia, some of whom are world record holders and/or World and Olympic medallists. Following that Barry was a Senior Physiologist at the English Institute of Sport for six years providing physiological support to British Athletics.

Peter Stanley (Head of Jumps, Throws and Combined Events)
  • Responsible for developing the strategy for field and combined events with a firm focus on winning medals in the future.
  • Works with home country partners to develop the pathway from entry to elite level performance with a specific remit to ensure that more athletes qualify for major championships in field and combined events.

Peter was head of Coaching and Development for British Athletics as well as Commonwealth Games Team Leader for England Athletics at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.  Peter is best known for guiding Jonathan Edwards to his world triple jump record and Olympic and World titles but has also coached long jumpers Chris Tomlinson to the British Indoor & Outdoor Records and JJ Jegede.


There is a small administrative team that supports all the key senior staff and day to day operations at the NPI. Details for the Medical Services Administrator who is also part of this team can be located in the Science and Medicine Services section.

Lisa Richardson (PA to the Performance Management Team)

Role and key responsibilities:
Lisa provides administrative support to the Performance Director and all members of the Performance Management Team supporting all areas of the Performance Programme.

Rachel Scott (National Performance Institute Operations Manager)
Role and key responsibilities:
Rachel is the key contact for all matters relating to the National Performance Institute, working closely with the NPI Director on day to day operations. Rachel also works closely with the Loughborough University operational team at the Athletics Centre to maximise the opportunities for athletes training at the NPI.