Christian Malcolm has started work as British athletics new head coach – despite still living in Australia.
Malcolm does not return from Down Under, where he is head of performance for Australia Athletics, until next month.
But he has wasted no time renewing acquaintances with British stars like world champion duo Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
Former sprinter Malcolm has used both Zoom and phone to connect with athletes who hope to chase Olympic medals in Tokyo nine months from now.
Asher-Smith, who this year had hoped to add Olympic gold to her world 200m title, insists she is “okay” with the Games being put back a year.
“I remember weirdly feeling personally relieved,” she told Eddie Hearn's podcast.
“That sounds strange for an athlete to say but I remember that day it was postponed, all gyms were shut, tracks were shut, I had no access to physios, no access for biomechanics and I had no idea of how I would train to an Olympic standard from inside my flat.
“In the weirdest sense I was relieved.”
Asher-Smith’s blank 2020 is in stark contrast to the riches on offer her in 2022 with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games sandwiched between the World and European Championships.
Brum bosses yesterday expressed confidence that both she and Johnson-Thompson would play some part in the home event – after changing their schedule to ease an event pile-up.
They hope the pair will go from the Worlds in Oregon, which finish on July 24, to the Commies, where the start of the athletics has been pushed back to August 2, and on to Munich for the Euros, kicking off on August 15.
‘We are hopeful, as are World Athletics, that ultimately this triple crown opportunity is unprecedented and that history could be made,” said Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg.
“We are working very closely with the athletics associations across the home nations so we can ensure this is a priority in their scheduling.”
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