Out on a high

Van Commenee to look for other challenges, says Ridgeon

Last Updated: 11/09/12 1:26pm

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Van Commenee: set to step down

Van Commenee: set to step down

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Jon Ridgeon believes that Charles van Commenee will leave a fine legacy when he steps down as head coach of UK Athletics.

"One of them was accountability for the athletes and the coaches. I guess his thought processes are that if you bring in those rules for everyone else then you have to live with them yourself. "
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The 54 year-old had set a target of eight athletic medals for London 2012 which was to include at least one gold, and stated that he would resign if Britain's athletes fell short.

GB were two shy of that total, however four of those were gold, and despite being offered a new contract by UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos, Van Commenee appears set to remain true to his word and step down.

And former 100m hurdler Ridgeon says it would have been a tough decision.

"I think it was his call really, certainly the senior management at UK Athletics wanted him to stay and he had the support of Seb Coe," he told Sky Sports News.

"He has done a very good job and brought in some good attributes to the team. One of them was accountability for the athletes and the coaches. I guess his thought processes are that if you bring in those rules for everyone else then you have to live with them yourself.

"I think he looked at the fact that he didn't get to that the eight medal goal and decided it was the right time to leave.

Ambitious man

"I suspect also that he is an ambitious man and he has dedicated four years of his life to UK Athletics and perhaps want to have another challenge as well. The Brazilians or someone else would pay him a pretty big salary to go and do the same thing for their country over the next four years.

"I am sure it was not an easy decision. Athletics in this country has got an exciting future ahead.

"The World Athletics Championships are coming in 2017 and there would have been some great things to challenge him here in the UK but ultimately he has decided to find another challenge and there will be plenty of people who will want to employ him."

Legacy

Van Commenee's tenure was not without controversy as he axed athletes who underperformed and had a public spat with triple jumper Phillips Idowu.

However Ridgeon says that he will leave UK Athletics in very good shape.

"He brought into the team discipline which I think was lacking before he got there. He also brought a great spirit into the team and some good people below him.

"For example Greg Rutherford, who won gold in the long jump, was helped by Van Commenee bringing in Dan Pfaff - one of the best long jump coaches in the world.

"He did a lot of good, no one's record is perfect - the relay teams were again an embarrassment and the Phillips Idowu controversy was probably not handled by Charles perfectly.

"However generally if you look at his ledger at the end of his time at UK Athletics I think the pros massively outweigh the cons."

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