A PERFORMANCE coach who led athletes to medal success at two Olympic Games has been appointed to work with some of Derbyshire’s most talented emerging sports stars in a bid to see more county athletes compete at future Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.
Andy Wood, who has worked with top badminton players such as Gail Emms, Nathan Robertson, Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg, has been appointed as Performance Manager of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) - a new support network which aims to help athletes in a number of sports to achieve greater success on the national and international stage.
Andy will lead the work to strengthen the performance sport pathways and athlete services in Derbyshire to ensure that local athletes have the support they need to reach their full potential.
Selected athletes, clubs and squads will be given access to improved coaching and training and competition facilities, as well as high quality strength and conditioning, sports science, physiotherapy and medical support within Derbyshire.
Andy will work with a team of strength and conditioning coaches and physiotherapists which will be appointed to work with up to 100 athletes a year.
His role will also include working with national governing bodies of sport to develop links between the DIS and their player pathways, and establishing a Performance Coach Forum in Derbyshire.
Andy, who lives in South Derbyshire, was previously Performance Director at GB Badminton and was the Badminton Head Coach at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics.
He coached Simon Archer and Joanne Goode to Britain’s first Olympic badminton medal, a bronze in Sydney 2000, and Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms to their silver in Athens in 2004.
In the 2006 World Championships, he coached all four of the finalists in the mixed doubles, with Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms winning gold and Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg taking silver.
Andy said: “Over the last year since I left my post with GB Olympic badminton I have had the opportunity to witness first hand some of the excellent work being done by athletes, coaches and clubs in Derbyshire and to see the vast amount of talent and potential that we possess in the county.
“There are many passionate sporting people at Derbyshire Sport and with the excellent backing from Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and the University of Derby, I am both thrilled and excited to be part of the team that has a real opportunity to make a significant performance impact in providing the environment for these athletes to maximise their capabilities.”
David Joy, Director of Derbyshire Sport, said: “It is a great coup for Derbyshire to have secured Andy to lead the Derbyshire Institute of Sport over the next three years. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience both as a player and coach and he is excited about working with our top coaches and athletes and to be involved in building something new and unique for Derby and Derbyshire.”
The initial funding and drive for the Derbyshire Institute of Sport is coming from Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and the University of Derby. They have agreed to work together with Derbyshire Sport to make some new and targeted investment in the lead up to the London 2012 Games, with the aim of maximising the legacy from the Games and enhancing the sporting reputation of Derby and Derbyshire.
The University of Derby’s Kedleston Road campus in Derby, and Brampton Manor in Chesterfield, have been chosen as the first two ‘hub’ sites for the DIS, and will provide many of the services required by athletes and coaches within the DIS.
Cllr Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “The Derbyshire Institute of Sport will really help to put Derbyshire on the map as a sporting county.
“Many of Derbyshire’s most talented athletes already receive some support through the Podium bursary programme, but it has become clear that for athletes to reach the top of their sport they need more than financial assistance.
“Seeing more athletes from Derbyshire competing on the international stage will be fantastic for the county, and also provide role models for other local young people.”
Cllr Hilary Jones, Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, said: “We are delighted to work with the Derbyshire Institute of Sport and support our joint ambition to help boost the number of home-grown athletes competing on the national and international stage by 2015.
“The appointment of Andy Wood will, I’m sure, prove an inspiration to many a budding sportsman and women as will Derby’s iconic leisure facilities which will provide our talented athletes with first rate training facilities which we hope will set them on a course for success.”
Professor John Coyne, Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby is excited to be a partner within the Derbyshire Institute of Sport and to have someone of Andy Wood’s calibre on board.
“Together we will be working hard to raise the performance of sports clubs and individuals within Derby, Derbyshire and the University itself, as we strive to improve our position within the British Universities and Colleges Sport league table.
“Sporting excellence is high on our agenda, so we are delighted that our Kedleston Road campus is to be one of the first two ‘hub sites’ where athletes supported through the Derbyshire Institute of Sport can obtain the core sports science and sports medicine services they require.”