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Time to plan says London Chair
With both the Track & Field season and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games drawing ever nearer everyone in athletics needs to be thinking about how they are going to organise themselves this Summer.
Because of the need to look at the bigger picture I have found myself increasingly pulled away from my day-to-day involvement in athletics. In 2009 I managed the Newham & Essex Beagles men’s team to win the British League and place 4th in the European Clubs Championship. So I was in the middle of it then, but less so now as most of my time is taken up with promoting London’s clubs and their members’ interests in national debates and within the various political bodies serving London.
I mention this because I am sure that the first reaction of many reading this will be “Mind your own business”, “Who are you to tell us what to do?” etc. Like you I have spent most of my life running or helping others in the sport. So I appreciate the pressures everyone is under and that you are largely volunteers.
But all of that said we all need to have a plan for this Summer because it is going to be different and so far as the clubs are concerned they are going to be a lot busier.
London Athletics held a consultation for London clubs after Christmas to discuss this subject. Not to mince words it was very disappointing. Very few if any of the clubs present seemed to have done any planning or even thinking about the Olympics and Paralympics and how they would be affected.
- Do you want to use the Games as an Opportunity to increase your scale?
- How will you cope with increased numbers of interested people wanting to do athletics even if you do not promote yourself?
When Christine Ohuruogu won the Gold in Beijing we were swamped with new athletes for a couple of weeks. What that taught us was try to know how many coaches will be on-hand just in case something good happens for a British athlete (and also get a few spokespeople available to deal with the press). But we had not done any planning and the new people had all gone in a week – probably put off by our disorganisation and the lack of welcome.
At this stage clubs need to meet to consider what might happen this Summer. In the coming weeks I will write again to talk through specifics.Follow @londonathletics