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UK Athletics announce historic exhibition

INSPIRE: Christie talks Ahmed instructs

UK ATHLETICS will be hosting a special ‘COACH’ photographic exhibition to mark Black History Month.

Hosted at an exclusive reception by Grant Thornton LLP the ‘COACH’ photographic exhibition is the brainchild of UK Athletics’ Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead, Donna Fraser; project manager, David Gorgeous; and Ernest Simons, the photographer behind the portraits.

‘COACH’ recognises the contribution and impact made by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic track and field coaches such as Paula Dunn, Linford Christie, Fuzz Ahmed and Llyod Cowan here in the UK, from grass roots to elite level.

The majority of coaches featured are those who were athletes themselves and are passionate about sharing their experiences and expertise with the emerging athletics stars in the UK, with the photographs captured offering an insight into the coaches at work in their daily ‘offices’, each of which captures the intimacy and importance of strong athlete-coach relationships.

Simons, who has spent much of the last few months travelling up and down the country to capture the photographs, reflected on the experience of working on the project, saying: “I love sport and love taking shots of athletes at all levels even more.

A photograph can tell a story of emotions, whether that be pain, happiness, disappointment; the list is endless. “Working with UK Athletics for Black History Month has given me the opportunity to tell the story of that unique coach-athlete relationship through photography, which many people do not get the chance to see, and so I wanted to ensure this exhibition tells many stories for everyone from any background to engage with and be inspired.”

For Fraser, a four-time Olympian who is now making her mark as a specialist in the field of Equality and Diversity, the exhibition marks the culmination of close to a year spent in the role at UK Athletics.

“Ultimately, COACH was born from a united desire to celebrate the impact made by BAME coaches here in Great Britain & Northern Ireland during Black History Month,” said Fraser. “As an organisation there are several key messages we want to deliver, with the crux of the exhibition being to promote positive BAME role models, especially females, while inspiring BAME communities to get involved in athletics, whether that be through participation, coaching, officiating or volunteering."

“We at UK Athletics feel that the COACH project encompasses the values we have worked so hard to instil at UK Athletics; these values – communication, integrity, quality, respect and accountability – are all present in the track and field coaches who work tirelessly on a daily basis, which is exactly why we have chosen to celebrate them as a means of inspiration.”

Following the launch event, selected images will displayed for the general public to view in and around the London Borough of Hackney at the Hackney Central Library and Dalston James Library from November 2017 through to April 2018, as well as the High Performance Centre in Loughborough.

If you wish to seek more information on the exhibition, you can do so by getting in touch with James Harding at the UK Athletics Communications team (jharding@britishathletics.org.uk).

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