Chief Executive of UK Athletics resigns

22 Oct 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

UK Athletics, the governing body for athletics in the UK, have announced that its chief executive, Joanna Coates (left), and Sara Symington (right), the head of performance, have both resigned from their positions.

Coates, who joined from England Netball in March 2020, came at a difficult time as it was just a few days after Tokyo 2020 had been postponed due to the global pandemic. Also, a long-term partnership with the BBC expired leaving the sport without a broadcast partner meaning that Olympic trials had to be watched via a website link.

Pressure has been mounting on both women after Britain’s worst Olympic performance in 25 years, taking home no gold medals. Additionally, several of Britain’s track and field athletes expressed their frustration with the current regime to Lord Coe, who sits as President of World Athletics.

Symington, a former cyclist who competed at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, has left her role to take over as head of British Cycling’s Olympic and Paralympic programmes.

The resignations were met with disappointment from some British athletes who stated that they only found out via Twitter.

The current Development director Mark Munro will take over as interim in place of Coates.

Chair Ian Beattie, who was only appointed in September 2021, said: "I'd like to thank Jo and Sara for their work during their time at UK Athletics and I wish them both all the best for the future."