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Wiltshire athletics coach is made MBE
Broughton Gifford athletics coach Malcolm Arnold admitted another big event will occupy his mind before he is presented with the MBE for services to the sport he was awarded in the Queen's birthday honours list announced today.
Veteran Arnold, who lives in the village with wife Madelyn, will help plot the route to Olympic Games glory for the likes of world, European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene at this summer’s Games in London, as his involvement in world-class athletics stretches towards 50 years.
The 72-year-old, whose training group is based at the University of Bath, has worked at the top of national athletics since the mid 1970s and is currently a senior performance coach for UK Athletics, for whom he is the national event coach for hurdles.
He said of his award: “Surprise (was the reaction) really. You don’t go looking for these things, even if you have been involved in the sport for a long time.
“My family are probably more excited about it than I am. I think it’s not until six months or so after the announcement that you have the presentation and there are quite a few other things going on between now and then.’’ Arnold was a guiding hand behind the career achievements of Great Britain’s former world, Commonwealth and European champion 110m hurdles champion Colin Jackson and Bath sprinter Jason Gardener, who won 4x100m relay gold with Great Britain at the Athens Olympics of 2004.
Having attended every Olympic Games since 1968, he previously served as director of coaching in Uganda and was Britain’s head athletics coach at the Atlanta Games of 1996 before relocating to Bath with Jackson in 1998.
Canada’s Mark McCoy (1992 110m hurdles Olympic champion) and 1972 Olympic 400m hurdles John Akii-Bua are others to have benefited from his expertise, while Greene and 2008 Olympic women’s 400m hurdles bronze medallist Tasha Danvers are among those currently under his wing.
Arnold’s training group will be at the UK Olympic Trials in Birmingham next week where places for the Great Britain Olympic team up for grabs.
He added: “There is a great deal to play for in the next few weeks as the team is decided (in early July). There are a few more meetings to take place and then we head out to Portugal (for a pre-Olympic training camp) on July 22, which means we miss the opening ceremony (at the Olympics).
“Hopefully there will be five (of his athletes) in the team, but I’m not really into predictions. We just get on with it and let it happen.’’ An estimated 65 major medals have been won by athletes under his tutelage in a coaching career stretching back to the mid-1960s.