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Mel Marshall ‘extremely excited’ to inspire next generation of female elite coaches

Mel Marshall says she is ‘extremely excited’ to be part of a new national programme which aims to more than double the number of female elite coaches before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

UK Sport has launched the leadership programme to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community.

Mel, who is the National Centre Loughborough lead coach, is one of six coaches that will provide a unique opportunity for other female coaches to learn from them, observe them in their environment and develop an understanding of high-performance coaching.

UK Sport is now working with performance directors, coach developers and talent pathway managers to identify the coaches who will benefit from the programme.

Mel, who is part of a team of eight coaching staff to support Great Britain’s athletes at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, said she was looking forward to sharing her experiences with those selected.

She added: “It’s important that people see what is possible and I am honoured to be part of this project with UK Sport and with a group of extremely successful female coaches from across the Olympic and Paralympic environment.

“We have to talk about opportunities for women in high-performance coaching and we shouldn’t be afraid to have those conversations, talk about our ambitions and challenge those not supporting them.

“UK Sport are leading the way on this through their ambition and I am extremely excited to be a part of the project and am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with up-and-coming coaches as well as everyone else involved.”

Other coaches on the scheme include Paula Dunn (para athletics), Kate Howey (judo), Bex Milnes (para triathlon) and Tracey Whittaker-Smith (trampolining).

Driving change

Karen Brown, who spent more than 15 years as a coach for Great Britain Hockey and England Hockey, will also act as a mentor throughout the programme.

UK Sport says that approximately 10 per cent of the coaching roles within the high-performance community are held by women.

The new leadership programme will aim to ensure that the number of Team GB and Paralympics GB female coaches has more than doubled to 25 per cent.

Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “UK Sport is determined to see greater diversity across the high-performance community and this programme will focus on seeing more women at the top end of high performance.

“Coaches, alongside athletes, are at the heart of our high-performance community and we firmly believe that a more diverse cohort of highly-skilled coaches will help more of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes realise their potential.

“There are currently far too few female coaches operating at the highest level of performance and we are committed to addressing this reality and, working with our stakeholders, driving the change we want to see.”

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