London 2012

UK Athletics have confirmed Paula Dunn as Paralympic head coach

Last Updated: 21/11/12 2:56pm

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The closing ceremony at this year's Paralympics in London

The closing ceremony at this year's Paralympics in London

UK Athletics have continued their policy of promoting from within by appointing Paula Dunn as Paralympics head coach.

After Peter Eriksson left the role to succeed Charles van Commenee as head coach of the Olympic squad, Dunn steps in from her previous position of Paralympics performance Manager.

UKA performance director Neil Black said: "Paula played a significant role in the Paralympic team's success at London 2012 and she is an outstanding appointment who will ensure continuity as well as further improvements in fulfilling this role.

"Whilst the Paralympic team was excellent in London, finishing third in the world with 29 medals, 11 of which were golds, there is a great platform on which to build and I believe that we can still improve for Rio 2016."

Dunn, a former 100m European bronze and Commonwealth silver medallist, added: "London 2012 had an amazing impact on Paralympic sport in this country and we have a real opportunity to build on that over the next four years.

"I believe that there is more talent out there and I am looking forward to unearthing that talent and building on the success of 2012.

"Working closely with Peter over the past four years has been superb, but I am looking forward to taking the reins and continuing what is in effect a long-term plan to see further medal success in Rio in 2016.

"As a former European and Commonwealth Games medallist, I know the commitment, passion and sheer determination it takes to achieve the very best.

"I have used this experience to develop some of the best Paralympic athletes in the world and I can't wait to take the team to the next level."

Involvement

Determined to build on the momentum of the London 2012 Games following her appointment, Dunn is focused on identifying fresh talent as well as integrating Paralympic athletes in training and competition with their Olympic counterparts.

The approach remains athlete-centred and she has already seen improvements in involvement since the Games. There have been more aspiring Paralympians joining the local athletics club of which her son is a member, with Dunn hopeful that the pathway to elite sport will continue.

The new Paralympics head coach used the example of Jonnie Peacock, who was inspired post-Beijing to go to a ParalympicsGB talent identification day and four years later became a star at London 2012.

Dunn said: "Jonnie Peacock in 2009 wasn't involved in the sport. He was one of the first athletes I saw when I started.

"Within three years he's gone from having very little involvement to being

Paralympic champion watched by 6.4million people and 80,000 people chanting his name in the stadium.

"The plan is to find more Jonnie Peacocks. We've got more to come."

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