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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance

Paula Dunn on Coaching, Diversity and the Future of High-Performance Sport

Paula Dunn became UK Athletics’ first ever female head coach in late 2012. Caroline Roberts finds out how the former sprinter handles the build-up to competition, and discovers her intentions for the future, perspective on diversity in high-performance sport, and approach to coaching

The GB athletics squad played a central role in 2012, winning 11 gold medals – a huge step up from the two golds won in Beijing four years earlier. It’s a hard act to follow.

But Paula Dunn, who took over as Paralympics head coach in November 2012, is equal to the challenge. The former GB sprinter, who served as right-hand woman to Head Coach Peter Eriksson in the last Olympic cycle, now looks to not only repeat that success in Rio next year, but to exceed it. 

Since taking on the role, Paula has continued to build on the talent identification and development structure put in place by her predecessor. 

"We now have a really robust pathway, which we didn’t have in the past," Paula says. "In 2009, we had fewer than 100 athletes but now we have in excess of 800. That’s something I’m really proud of."

Currently, 51 athletes receive funding, 25 of whom have definite podium potential for Rio. 

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UK Coaching Team