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banks appointed as wheelchair coach

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18 December 2012

Renowned paralympic coach Jenni Banks has been appointed as UKA’s wheelchair racing coach in the latest coaching appointment by UKA Performance Director Neil Black.

The appointment is the latest addition to the UKA performance team that will take athletics through to Rio 2016 and the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.  

Australian Banks is widely regarded as one of the most successful Paralympic coaches in the world. She worked for the Australian Paralympic Committee for eight years as Director of Sport and High Performance Manager, including during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Previously a coach to four world number one wheelchair athletes including Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, Banks has coached athletes to a total of 42 Paralympic, Olympic and World Championship medals, as well as 40 world records.

Banks said: “I’m delighted to be joining UKA. The London 2012 Paralympic Games were a breakthrough Games for the Paralympic movement, in particular, for the way that they were embraced by the UK.  For the first time, the quality of Paralympic athletic performances were really recognised and appreciated and Paralympic athletes became household names.

“As a long-time coach in Paralympic sport that was incredibly satisfying to see and it makes the UK an exciting place to coach. I am also delighted to be working with Paula Dunn following her recent appointment as Head Coach. I’ve admired from afar the transformation in the GB Paralympic Athletics Team and support structures, led by Peter Eriksson, but am also aware that, no matter how successful, there is always room for improvement.”

UKA Performance Director Black said: It is great that a coach of Jennis calibre is joining our Paralympic programme at such a crucial time. With Paula Dunns appointment to Head Coach and now Jennis appointment as wheelchair racing coach, I feel the Paralympic team is in the best possible place to push on from its amazing performances this summer towards an even greater performance in Rio in 2016.

UKA Paralympic Head Coach Paula Dunn said: ‘I am delighted that Jenni will be joining us in the UK to ensure we can build upon the amazing performances from the Paralympic Games this year.

“It goes without saying that the performances of Dave Weir, Hannah Cockroft to name but a couple will have inspired so many young aspiring wheelchair racers this year, and Jenni’s appointment will ensure we have the expertise to bring this next generation through to medal winning performances in Rio. I look forward to working closely with her in the next few years.”

UKA has also confirmed that UKA physician Dr Robin Chakraverty has been appointed as Chief Medical Officer, following the departure of Dr Paul Dijkstra who leaves UK Athletics in January following a successful seven year stint with the governing body.

Chakraverty, who joined UKA in January 2009 has worked alongside Dijkstra across the major championships in recent years, and will ensure a seamless transition alongside Performance Director Neil Black.

Chakraverty said: “I feel both honoured and excited by this new opportunity to continue and build on the great work of my predecessor, Paul Dijkstra. Supporting our athletes to achieve performance goals by keeping them healthy and training is our challenge, which we will always strive toward.”