Former UKA chief defends under-fire van Commenee
FORMER UKA chief exec Dave Moorcroft has defended current head coach Charles van Commenee's Jose Mourinho-style methods - insisting the controversial Dutchman's bid to deliver 2012 glory is bang on track.
STATUS REPORT: Former UKA chief Dave Moorcroft is adamant head coach Charles van Commenee has got the GB athletics squad bang on track for London 2012 glory
Van Commenee has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks with his uber-public Twittergate tiff with London 2012 gold-medal hopeful Phillips Idowu.
That rift coupled with the ‘plastic Brit' debate over new GB recruits Tiffany Ofili-Porter, Shana Cox and Shara Proctor has led to question marks over van Commenee's perceived blind pursuit of results at the cost of youth athletic development.
Van Commenee has insisted UKA are not recruiting athletes and Moorcroft is adamant the Dutchman, whom he compares to former Chelsea boss Mourinho, should be congratulated, not attacked, for his work so far.
"I think Charles is tough at times but he also knows when he needs to put an arm around people's shoulders when he needs to, like a good football manager," said Moorcroft - who was the UKA chief from 1997 to 2007.
"He is tough but the athletics arena is a tough place to be, Olympic finals are hard places to be so athletes need that tough stance in some ways.
"Charles has chosen to very much focus on those athletes that can win medals at 2012 and I think it is working well and looking good in many ways for 2012.
"He made a big impact when he was with UKA between 2001 and 2006 when I was there. He is a kind of Jose Mourinho-type character in some respects and he came in a few years ago into what was a difficult role and he has moved it forward."
And former 5,000m world record holder Moorcroft believes Mo Farah - who broke Moorcroft's 3,000m British mark last summer - could be one of van Commenee's surprise medal successes at 2012.
As the last non-African to set a world 5,000m best Moorcroft is not so naïve as to insist Farah will have it easy in the capital but insists a spot on the podium is within the American-based 28-year-old's reach.
"Mo Farah ran really well winning the 5k and 10k at the European Championships last year but the most impressive run was the 10k he ran not so long ago when he broke the European record which puts him on a new level," added Moorcroft.
"With the inevitable African charge in London it's going to be tough for him but he can absolutely be in the hunt for a medal."
Moorcroft was in his home town of Coventry last week as the London 2012 Olympic Torch made a visit to the city.
The 58-year-old marked the occasion by announcing his nomination to carry the Torch next summer, recent English Schools 1500m junior girls champion Sian Rainsley.
As part of a Lloyds TSB initiative, the public are being encouraged to nominate members of the community.
"Sian is an excellent runner and is definitely a bit special," Moorcroft explained.
"She is not only a good runner but also a national ranked triathlete and a great swimmer and cyclist and more generally a really pleasant young lady.
"She will be racing 300m, 800m and all sorts of distances in the future but she will never have an opportunity to carry the Torch for a home Olympics again so it would be great for her."
To nominate yourself or someone else to be a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer with Lloyds TSB, visit www.lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame. Nominations close on 12 September. Terms and Conditions apply.
(c) Sportsbeat 2011