Radcliffe decision to keep on racing welcomed by head of UK athletics
13:02 GMT, 10 December 2012
UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson has welcomed Paula Radcliffe's determination to resume her career next year, insisting only she knows when it is time to retire.
Radcliffe was unable to compete in the marathon at this summer’s London Olympics due to injury, and lost her Lottery funding as she is no longer seen as a realistic medal contender in global championships.
But despite turning 39 next Monday, the marathon world record holder said she is 'desperate' to return to competition in 2013.
Flying the flag: Radcliffe has vowed to continue racing
'I know she had an operation on her foot and it will take some time for her to get back to running, but I see it as very positive if she is still hungry to perform,' Eriksson told the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC Radio Five Live.
'If she does the right things and doesn’t push it too hard, I think she will be fine.
'The athletes know by themselves when it’s time to retire and they have to come to terms with that on their own, it’s nothing you force people into.
'She is a very talented athlete and if she is hungry to race then I think that’s great for us.'
Eriksson was appointed in October and is helping to oversee UKA’s plans for a single high performance institute in Loughborough.
Loughborough will be used as 'the engine' of British athletics according to Eriksson, but the Swede acknowledged that the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Adam Gemili will not be required to use the facility on a full-time basis.
Greek tragedy: Radcliffe pulled up during the marathon at 2004 Olympics
Gemili’s coach Michael Afilaka lost his
full-time position with UK Athletics recently and the 19-year-old world
junior champion does not want to move from his London base to work with
another coach in Loughborough.
'I talked to him and he is very
comfortable in his environment,” Eriksson said. 'We have supported his
coach this year and we will find a way to do that in the future.
'We are having coach-based support so there will be some funding going towards Adam’s coaching. He is really keen on staying where he is because he goes to the university, he is close to the training facility and has his coach there so I don’t see a reason to change that at all.
Tough cookie: Radcliffe is desperate to return to competition next year
'We need to ensure that each athlete and their coach get as much support as we can give them and we need to build a team, but in addition to that we also have a lot of athletes coming up in under-18, under-20, under-23 age groups that are performing really well.
'We need to have those and turn them into medallists and that’s why we try to hire the best coaches and have one central hub that is the engine of the sport.
'You don’t want to take an athlete out of their environment where they are comfortable and have good support, but we also want them to come and be part of the centre. They can come and go, they don’t have to live there, to move anywhere.
'Mo Farah and Jess Ennis have a great environment so why change that We just have to optimise it for them.'
Eriksson also reiterated that, unlike his predecessor Charles van Commenee, he has a good relationship with triple jumper Phillips Idowu, who failed to reach the Olympic final after a controversial and injury-hit build-up.
'He is aiming to bring back a gold medal at the World Championships (in Moscow next year) and I am looking forward to seeing him back on the team again,' Eriksson added.
'If he is fully healed from all his injuries, which he is now, there is no reason why he shouldn’t perform good again so you have to say it’s over now and we have to move forward and do better.'