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‘Exciting year ahead for athletics in Scotland’ – Mark Munro

Friday 13th December 2019

BBC Scotland website coverage

Chief executive Mark Munro has sketched out the brush strokes for his 2020 Vision for athletics in Scotland – and the plans are exciting.

A hectic year drawing to a close always gives a little time for reflection and the new issue of PB magazine hopefully covers a number of the headline-grabbing events in recent months.

But Mark has used his regular column in the magazine to flag a number of projects we expect to progress over the course of the forthcoming year.

Coach education, Scotland competing at the Euro Cross, a new Indoor Facility, and the Athletics Trust Scotland are all issues on the prospective agenda.

PB magazine is being issued this week to 14,000 scottishathletics members.

Here are some of the thoughts from Mark Munro:

‘Scottish development and success has been recognised by British Athletics who have also committed to find opportunities for more Scottish (and home country) athletes to compete within a European context, possibly starting with the European Cross Country Championships.

‘We will ‘watch this space’ closely on that one as we think there is a lot of potential there for athletes and clubs.

‘Looking forward, one of the most important priorities for athletics in Scotland is better development of technical events.

‘We have some very good technical eventers and pockets of excellent coaching.

However, we need to take to look at a more systematic approach to ensure the development of coaching expertise, quality facility access, competition opportunities and athlete support, to ensure we have a consistent conveyor belt of talent as well as a greater depth across events. Not an easy task but there’s no reason why we cannot do it.

‘Part of our development work will include the introduction of event group hubs at identified facilities in Scotland.

‘This will be a phased development and will consider facilities, coaching expertise, general environments, tertiary education and employment opportunities. The hubs will be places where athletes and coaches can come together to train as well as the sharing of expertise and event education.

Scotland competing as Scotland in international XC events is very much up for discussion (photo by Neil Renton)

‘Continuing on coaching, we’ve decided to work in partnership with World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) in respect of coach and athlete developments models and delivery. These developments are a priority for 2020.

‘Next year we also expect to significantly progress the momentum growing around another project – the Athletics Trust Scotland.

‘This is being established to try to raise more funding for the sport in Scotland that can be directed into projects that support athletes, coaches, clubs and officials, as well as aiding potential facility developments.

’The Trust will primarily be a fundraising body focusing on major donations and legacy. More information will be communicated in due course.

‘Moving forward, we continue to tackle challenges around facility developments and facility access.

Members may be aware we have tasked the Scottish Government with helping finance a new national indoor training centre given some access challenges pre Christmas at the Emirates Arena.

‘We’ve been working with the Scottish Government and sportscotland and have almost completed exploratory work with a consultant.

‘The next stage is to ensure the operational costs and business model for any proposed facility can be met by the athletics community, (including ourselves). There are no guarantees at this stage but we are all working towards solutions which is a step in the right direction.

Mark with Honorary President, Lord Jack McConnell, at our National Club Conference (photo by Bobby Gavin)

‘In a club context, the development team have been liaising with Scandinavian colleagues and exploring their models of club development/exchanging ideas. As part of the new club visit programme, we plan to enable a number of clubs operating within certain programmes to visit like-minded clubs.

‘The New Year will bring a busy programme of events, including a British Cross Challenge event at Stirling.

‘Meanwhile, our normal domestic business continues which includes a busy winter period for coach, officials and club development programmes which commenced with the launch of revitalised National Training Days (athletes and coaches) and the National Club Conference.

‘There are a range of officials and coach development courses and qualification opportunities over the period.

‘The period between now and March is one of the busiest with numerous championships events, especially in cross country and indoors. The work and support of our Commissions and Officials is particularly important over this time. We are extremely grateful for their continued efforts.

‘Remember, let’s keep our athletes competing during this period at the appropriate level:  ‘Competition – It’s What You Train For.’

‘Thanks to everyone involved in delivering this great Scottish sport and good luck over coming months.’

Tags: Athletics Trust Scotland, Euro Cross, Indoor Facility, Mark Munro

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