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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adam Gemili's coach made redundant by UK Athletics

By Simon Hart Michael Afilaka, the man who turned sprint prodigy Adam Gemili from a raw beginner into a junior world 100 metres champion in the space of five months, has been made redundant by UK Athletics. He has also been denied the option of continuing as a contracted coach on a reduced salary because Gemili did not make the 2012 Olympic final in London, according to Gemili's camp. The sprinter missed out by just by 0.04sec in finishing third in his semi-final behind Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay. Afilaka has fallen victim to the new centralisation plan being driven by UK Athletics performance director, Neil Black, in the wake of Charles van Commenee’s departure from the governing body. But his redundancy is certain to raise questions about UK Athletics’ commitment to nurturing home-grown coaching talent after recently hiring two American coaches – Rana Reider and Terrence Mahon. Gemili, 19, has emerged as one of the most exciting young athletes in the world this year, running the fastest 100m time in World Junior Championship history when he clocked 10.05sec in Barcelona in July. The teenager, who only switched from football to full-time athletics training in February, has stated his rise from novice to world junior champion is down to Afilaka’s coaching.