Monday, March 27, 2006

Scots in fear of coaching exodus

Scots in fear of coaching exodus
The euphoria surrounding Scotland's best Commonwealth Games display has been dampened by doubts over the future of several leading sports figures.

Swimming boss Chris Martin, track cycling manager Ivor Reid and boxing coach John McKay are all uncertain to stay on in their roles.

Scotland won 29 medals in Melbourne to finish sixth in the table.

Eighteen came in swimming and cycling, so the loss of Martin and Reid would be a significant blow to both sports.

Martin says he will take a decision once a multi-agency review of Scottish sport has been concluded.

Carrying on depends on the vision the people have for the future
Chris Martin

"There are sometimes differing visions of how things should run," he said.

"I need to speak to certain people and find out what they think the future structures should be and my decision will be based on that.

"Carrying on depends on the vision the people have for the future."

Cycling has already been hit by the loss of national coach Graeme Herd, who says he intends to leave his post.

Reid is reportedly set to follow suit because of what he perceives to be the "ill treatment" of his colleague.

"I don't think all the hard work he's done has been appreciated," Reid told The Scotsman newspaper.

Scottish boxing has to hold on to John McKay for as long as possible
Boxing gold-medallist Kenny Anderson

"They'll need to appoint two staff to take on his workload - he's put in a phenomenal amount of work.

"It also won't be easy to find someone else who has the respect of the riders the way Graeme has."

James McCallum, who won bronze in the 20km scratch race, added: "I would have given up after the last Commonwealth Games without his (Herd) and Ivor's encouragement.

"I'm really sorry they're leaving. They've both been behind me all the way and, to me, they're the two most important guys in Scottish cycling."

McKay's future is uncertain because the 62-year-old's contract expires next year.

And Kenny Anderson, who won gold at light heavyweight by beating Nigeria's Adura Olalehin, said he would consider his own position if McKay was not kept on.

Meanwhile, the relative failure of the Scottish athletics team - they won just two medals - will come under further scrutiny.

The Scottish Institute of Sport's executive director Anne-Marie Harrison has criticised athletics for being "arrogant and lacking in vision and ambition".

That view was endorsed by Dougie Donnelly, Scottish Institute of Sport chairman, who was in Melbourne for the Games.

"I back what Anne-Marie has said unequivocally, 100%," he told The Herald newspaper.

"I've already arranged a meeting with the Scottish Athletics chairman Mark Hollinshead soon after my return."


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