Coaching in the UK

A year of coaching excellence celebrated at the UK Coaching Awards

Wed, 30 Nov 2016

After a record-breaking Olympic Games in Rio for Team GB’s gymnastics squad, it was men’s technical director Eddie Van Hoof’s turn in the spotlight, as he was named UK Coach of the Year at a glittering awards ceremony last night.

The 60-year-old received the prestigious title after guiding Max Whitlock to double Olympic gold on the floor and pommel this summer, just two of the five medals Van Hoof’s squad won in Britain’s greatest ever Games.

Presenting the accolade was HRH The Princess Royal at the star-studded UK Coaching Awards in London, the annual celebration organised by Sports Coach UK to honour sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months.

Previous winners of the prize include Brian McDermott, Gary Street, Warren Gatland, Toni Minichiello and Andy Flower. But few will have enjoyed the medal rush Van Hoof oversaw in Rio, with Louis Smith winning silver in the pommel, Nile Wilson securing GB’s first ever Olympic high bar medal and Whitlock’s all-round bronze completing his set as a coach at the Games.

Eddie Van Hoof & HRH The Princess RoyalVan Hoof was not the only big winner at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Wembley, with his title one of 12 handed out on the night to the cream of British coaches.

Jürgen Grobler took home the Lifetime Achievement award for his work with the British Rowing men’s squad at the last seven Olympic Games, while sailing coach Martin Boatman picked up the Performance Development Coach of the Year title.

The British Horseracing Authority landed the Governing Body of the Year title, with Katherine Robinson named as the Coach Developer of the Year.

England BC4 Boccia’s Sunil Birdy claimed the Community Coach of the Year prize, with Kieran Henderson winning the Heather Crouch Young Coach of the Year. Aylesbury disability karate coach, Dirk Van Der Merwe won the Disability Coach of the Year award, while Scottish gymnastics coach Kieran Brown was selected as Children’s Coach of the Year.

The Coaching Intervention of the Year title went to the RFU’s Somali Rugby programme in London, and British para-swimming head coach Rob Greenwood and Van Hoof were name Paralympic and Olympic High Performance Coaches of the Year, respectively.

And the Coaching Chain of the Year prize went to Team GB’s women’s hockey coach Danny Kerry, Jon Royce, Tricia Heberle, Maggie Souyave, Pete Atwell and Beverly Kinder, who all worked with British skipper Kate Richardson-Walsh on her sporting journey, which climaxed with Olympic gold in Rio.

Richardson-Walsh retired this summer, having successfully led GB to victory in the women’s hockey final in Rio, beating defending champions Holland in a dramatic penalty shootout, after also guiding England to the European Championships title.

Read the Connected Coaches round up of the event.

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