UK Sport announces drive to more than double number of elite female coaches

UK Sport has launched a bid to more than double female representation in elite coaching by the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The leadership programme will bring together 27 of Britain’s most respected female coaches as part of a drive to increase the number of women in high performance roles across the Olympic and Paralympic communities. 

Currently women account for approximately 10 percent of all coaching positions in Olympic and Paralympic sports, according to data from UK Sport.

Mel Marshall, who coached swimmer Adam Peaty to eight world titles and Olympic gold in Rio, will join Jane Figueiredo, Tom Daley’s former coach credited with leading on Britain’s diving prospects, among the eight women who will act as mentors for the initiative.

They will be joined by six other highly experienced coaches, including Claire Morrison (boccia) Paula Dunn (para athletics), Kate Howey (judo), Bex Milnes (para triathlon) and Tracy Whittaker-Smith (trampolining) as leaders for the programme.

Karen Brown, who spent over 15 years as a coach for Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey, will act as a mentor to the overall programme, which will support 19 of the UK’s most promising female coaches over a six-month period.

Among them is Emma Trott, the older sister of four-time Olympic track cycling champion Laura Kenny, and climbing coach Leah Crane, who helped Britain’s Shauna Coxsey qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Sally Munday, the CEO of UK Sport, said she hoped the programme would serve as a springboard to make coaching roles in elite sport more gender diverse.

“I believe that each of the participants will become role models for the next generation of coaches and will truly enable us to more than double representation by Paris 2024 and beyond,” said Munday. “I want to be able to reflect back that this was a turning point of truly making our workforce, in particular our coaching workforce, in the high-performance community far more diverse and a lot more equal from a gender perspective.”

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