Stephen Maguire has admitted he was tempted by an offer to lead the British athletics team into next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, but Scottish Athletics director of coaching insisted yesterday that loyalty to his current roles led him to turn the opportunity down.
The Northern Irishman, pictured, was the clear favourite to take on the job of performance director at UK Athletics when Neil Black was abruptly dismissed last month. However, despite holding extended talks with the governing body’s chair Chris Clark this week, he rejected overtures to plug the breach on a temporary basis in favour of remaining at the helm in Scotland, alongside his position at the head of the British sprint and relay squads.
“It’s really about staying in Scotland,” he said. “From the start of this, I always said I wasn’t going to resign from Scottish Athletics. It’s a big job up here. It’s great to be talked about and in negotiations for a role like that, absolutely. But I have also have a big job to do with the sprints and making sure the relays are fine. I don’t want to do anything which compromises that.”
It leaves UKA with no obvious internal successor with Clark now expected to replace Black with a committee of advisors surrounding Steve Paulding, who runs the sport’s high performance centre in Loughborough. Maguire, along with jumps supremo Peter Stanley. Endurance head Barry Fudge would expect to be centrally involved.
Yet with sprinters, including world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, expected to provide the bulk of GB&NI’s medals in Tokyo, continuity was vital, Maguire insisted. “We want to make it the best Games we’ve ever had in terms of sprints and relays for any British team.”