Black targets Moscow success
UK Athletics performance director Neil Black wants Great Britain to replicate their Olympic success at the World Championships in Moscow.
Black was appointed in September as part of a new coaching team with Peter Eriksson installed as head coach following the resignation of Charles van Commenee after he acted on his pre-Games threat to quit if they did not match his own medal target of eight.
They came away with six, of which were four were gold, but the Dutchman walked, standing by his principle of accountability.
The team continued their success earlier this month when they finished second in the medal table at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg with eight medals, including four golds.
Turning his attention to Moscow, Black identified continuing this culture of high-quality performance to be one of the major challenges.
He said: "Maintaining the positive momentum, making sure not only do we match our own expectations but other people's expectations.
"We (need to) sustain the same type of medal-winning performances, capitalise on the improvements that need to be made and the things we learned from last summer to minimise the instances where things can go wrong.
"We have to ensure we don't fall into the post-Olympic low and allow distractions associated with that to influence athletes and their performances.
"And make sure we minimise any chances of distractions but maximise the direction towards medal-winning performances."
He denied the distractions he was referring to were of a commercial nature and was not concerned by the potential for any conflict between an athlete and the federation such as that involving Olympic diving bronze medallist Tom Daley and British Swimming following his appearance on 'Splash'.
Black said: "Not at all. We pride ourselves on having good communication with the athletes, their coaches and agents.
"We have really effective communication within our teams.
"There is nobody we're not in touch with, there is nobody we're not staying close to, there's nobody we're not planning, supporting and developing with.
"And I feel every confidence about that."
Rather there were solely positives from Black who cited the main highlights of his tenure so far as working with Eriksson and Paralympic head coach Paula Dunn, the development of Loughborough as a high performance centre as well as the "fantastic performances" in Gothenburg.
Black, though, acknowledged the danger of selection policies, such as those announced by England Athletics for the Commonwealth Games, that could be prohibitive.
"We are inclusive and consultative with plans and philosophies moving forward but there is always a danger in striving for higher performance and excellence, that you make it so difficult ... it is inhibiting for people.
"It is something we are aware of."
He also revealed UKA were nearing the appointment of a strategic head of coaching and development with Richard Wheater currently covering the role vacated by Kevin Tyler.
Other upcoming plans were for a group to go out to Florida for warm-weather training as well as an official presence at the Penn Relays in late April which would see them compete in both men's and women's sprint relays, 4x400 metres and the medley relay.
Former Olympic relay champions Marlon Devonish, Jason Gardener and Darren Campbell are all set to become involved with the British relay teams.
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