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Black gets top GB coaching role

Neil Black was appointed performance director of British athletics yesterday, the former physiotherapist replacing Charles van Commenee after the Dutchman confirmed he would step down in December.

Van Commenee announced his departure on Wednesday after failing to meet his target of eight track and field medals at the London Olympics, including one gold, even though the team bagged four golds and six medals overall.

Black will oversee the next Olympic cycle to the 2016 Games in Rio and the 2017 World Champion-ships in London.

“It is an honour to be given the chance to lead colleagues with whom I have worked hand in glove for the last four years,” Black said.

Black added a “number” of strong candidates were being considered to replace Van Commenee, who said the former UK Athletics head of sports science and medicine was far and away the best man for the performance director’s job.

“I cannot think of any person within the top end of our sport who is more respected than Neil. You will be struggling to find any athlete who has anything negative to say about him,” he said alongside Black.

Van Commenee was proud of his work at the forefront of British sport despite not reaching his targets at the Olympics.

“The thing I’m most proud of is the culture we’ve set together. It’s a high performance culture which enabled us to get rid of the negativity around our sport... now there’s more confidence and belief.”

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