Pavey paved the way for British success as a rejuvenated UK Athletics team achieved medals galore in the 2014 European Championships in Zurich.
UKA headed by president and former Olympic long jumper Lynn Davies has grown since the low point of the 2006 European championships in Gothenburg where UK only won 1 gold in the men’s 4x100m relay and has since transformed into a monumental hub of British sporting talent.
The UKA tasted success under the initial direction of Charles van Commenee in the London 2012 Olympics where the Britain won 6 medals, but after an unhappy departure, Neil Black took over the mantel temporarily, and has turned UK athletics into a success.
These athletics championships have been a huge improvement for Great Britain who achieved 23 medals in total with 12 golds, 5 silvers and 6 bronzes.
Britain dominated the sprints under the coaching of Rana Reider, with individual victories for James Dasaolu in the men’s 100m, Adam Gemili in the 200m and Martyn Rooney in the 400m and victories in the team relays for both the men’s 4×100 and 4×400 teams and the women’s 4×100 winning and setting a new British record. All have acknowledged the difference Reider, his coaching team and physios have made to ensure the athletes have the confidence and fitness to compete at the top level.
On the first day, Jo Pavey won gold in the women’s 10,000m aged 40, setting the tone for the championships and proving that British distance running was still a huge presence in national sport, Mo joined her success with a men’s 10,000m title the following day and capitalising his status as a legend in distance running by completing the ‘double double’ earning his 5th Gold medal in European championships, winning the 5000m on the final day.
British representatives were dominating over hurdles with Tiffany Porter winning the women’s 100m hurdles and Eilidh Child, coached by legendary Malcolm Arnold winning the women’s 400m hurdles.
The final day was magnificent for Great Britain with notable successes for Martyn Rooney and Adam Gemili who backed up their successes in their individual event to achieving Gold in the men’s relay teams.
Olympic champion Greg Rutherford joined up his Commonwealth success with European Gold in the men’s long jump, making 2014 a successful year for the Milton Keynes athlete.
The only disappointment from a British perspective would be the lack of podium representation in the field events with only one medal, something which can be looked into and improved.
The success in these championships puts Britain in a good position going into the upcoming world championships in Beijing (2015) and the following Olympic games in Rio (2016) with young talent supported by UKA, coming through and now competing with the best.