<
>

British Athletics coach Malcolm: I'm not a trailblazer, I'm the best man for the job

Christian Malcolm was appointed British Athletics' head coach in September after joining the organisation from Australia Athletics. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

British Athletics head coach and former Olympic sprinter Christian Malcolm has said he isn't a trailblazer and that he got the role because of abilities, not his skin colour.

Malcolm, who participated in four Olympics, is the first Black head coach in the Olympic role in the organisation.

"I don't see myself as a trailblazer," he told the Guardian. "I feel like I was selected because I was the best man for the job. It's all about pick me for my abilities, not for the colour of my skin.

"It's about having the opportunity to go out there and do a good job, especially if we have the skill-set to do it. I don't look at it as being the first Black coach. I'm a young coach and I want to drive this forward."

Malcolm had been working as Australia Athletics' head of performance when he was appointed to the role with British Athletics in September.

During his career he won European Indoor gold and silver, World Indoor and European Championship silver, Commonwealth silver and bronze, as well as two World bronze medals as part of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland 4x100 metre relay team.

"Don't be fooled by the smile -- I totally recognise that the fact is I am going to have to say no and some people aren't going to like that," Malcolm added.

"That's the nature of this job, that's what it is, and that's what I've signed up to. But I've got no issue with it. For me, it's about communicating in the right way, and I will always be honest."

Malcolm also said that he is in close contact with athletes such as Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson who had applauded the appointment of a former athlete.

"I will be in close conversation with those athletes, [but] me calling them up every week might be a bit of a burden on them, so I'm not going to do that," Malcolm added.

"I will be checking on them when it's relevant and necessary, and being across how their progress and training is. When we get out of lockdown, it's about going to their training and making sure they are putting everything into place."

Olympic sports in Great Britain have been rocked by allegations of bullying in 2020 and Malcolm stressed that a different approach to elite sport, which didn't solely concentrate on medals, was needed.

"Don't get me wrong, medals are important," he said. "It's the ultimate goal our athletes want to achieve.

"For me, it's just about trying to get the best out of our athletes and the talent we've got coming through. If that means making finals or winning medals, that's a great achievement. And that for me is a success."