EXCLUSIVE: British Athletics’ Performance Director: “We’re ready for Rio”

By iSportconnect | May 9, 2016

As the Olympics in Rio gets ever closer, iSportconnect caught up with Neil Black, Performance Director at British Athletics, for a quick Q and A about how everything is looking.

iSC – How is prep for Rio going?

NB – Prep for Rio is good. I’ve just returned from one of the many warm weather training camps in preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics. Lots of good early season performances, people performing well.

iSC – Is there a goal in mind for Rio?

NB – The goal is to get great performances, for athletes to perform at their best on the day, in the final. We’re looking at PBs and best performances. When you do that, you win as many medals and get as many good positions as you get. 

iSC – For such a huge event is form relevant? Or is it so big do you consider it a one off?

NB – Some gain confidence from form, knowing that they are following a plan and that the number of competitions prior to the main one is being completed, and things are therefore going well. Others are on a different plan, which involves heavier training, not necessarily demonstrating performance until they actually get there.

iSC – Are there any athletes that are flying under the radar and may shock some people in Brazil?

NB – We always work on the basis that there will people there who will come up and shock.

We have people like Chris Baker in the high jump who’s making good progress this year and previously wouldn’t have been heard of. We would, and he would, have expectations of touching on the door of making the finals. Once you get in the finals you can potentially win medals.

We also have people like Shelayna Oskan-Clarke in the 800m, who jumped onto the world stage last year finishing 5th in the world championships. She is expecting to do as well, if not better, but people may not have heard of her.

There are young people making progress who we are looking forward to seeing what they can do.

iSC – Is there one key thing athletes should be aware of going to Rio?

NB – The real key thing is preparing for your absolute best performance, when it matters, in the final, on that day. That’s our focus and that’s where we are heading