Australia loses athletics coach to Britain, one year before Olympics

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Sydney (AFP)

Australia Friday lost its athletics coach less than a year before the Tokyo Olympics as former sprinter Christian Malcolm was poached by his native Britain.

The 41-year-old Welshman was appointed 18 months ago to help make Australian athletes more competitive.

But after the 2020 Games were delayed for a year by the coronavirus pandemic, he is returning home to become head coach of UK Athletics' Olympic program.

Athletics Australia chief Darren Gocher said he was keen to appoint an Australian to replace him.

"Our attention is now squarely focused on the upcoming summer program and Olympic Games in Tokyo next year," he said.

"Athletics Australia has built robust structures and systems along with a stable of excellent coaches that place us in good stead as we move forward with our high performance program."

Malcolm, a former world, European and Commonwealth Games medallist who competed at two Olympics, has previously worked for UK Athletics as technical lead for sprint relays.

"Words can't describe how excited I am to have the opportunity to take this role on and be part of a new start for British Athletics," he said in a UK Athletics statement.

"In all my coaching and advisory roles so far, I have wanted to help athletes avoid the errors I made and support them and their coaches to get the best out of themselves."