Rodger Harkins quits as Scottish Athletics coaching chief

Rodger Harkins is leaving his post at Scottish Athletics. Picture: Jeff Holmes
Rodger Harkins is leaving his post at Scottish Athletics. Picture: Jeff Holmes
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Rodger Harkins is stepping down as performance director of Scottish Athletics.

The Cheshire-based coach has decided to leave his role for family reasons after leading Scotland to five medals at the Commonwealth Games.

The tally was up one on the Glasgow haul four years earlier, after which Harkins took over, and was achieved without the likes of Laura Muir and Andrew Butchart.

Harkins, who formerly coached Scottish 400 metre runner Lee McConnell, said in a statement: “I have decided to retire from my position as performance director of scottishathletics following on from a successful Commonwealth Games cycle.

“As some people within the sport will be aware, I live in Cheshire with my wife and have decided that I would like to spend more time with my family.

“I feel I have played a key role in supporting and developing the athletes and programmes during a period of great success for the organisation, but in particular, for Scottish athletes and coaches.

“I am leaving behind a strong staff team and a strong platform upon which my successor can build upon. I wish everyone within athletics in Scotland all the best for the future and will no doubt continue to be visible at events across 
the UK.”

Chief executive Mark Munro
vowed to further develop programmes of support for athletes and coaches when appointing a successor.

Munro added: “It’s a vital role for the coming years and our aspiration has to be to maintain and enhance performance levels by Scottish athletes and give guidance and leadership to their coaches.”

Meanwhile, marathon runner Callum Hawkins has vowed to become a better athlete on the back of his painful Commonwealth Games 
experience.

The Scot collapsed while leading the Gold Coast marathon on Sunday during the 25th mile.

The 25-year-old spent a night in hospital after an initial delay receiving medical attention despite the obvious distress he was in as he tried to battle his way through the 27°C heat and reach the finish line.

But the Kilbarchan runner is determined to take the lessons into the 2020 Olympic Games.

Writing on Twitter, Hawkins said: “Thanks everyone for the messages of support, they’re very much appreciated and mean a lot to me. The response has been overwhelming.

“I’m absolutely gutted as I had put everything in to getting a medal at the CG over the past 6 months but it’s sport, s*** happens.

“I will use the whole thing as big learning experience to make myself a better athlete for Tokyo and the future. Looking forward to getting back at it soon.”