Monday 25 September 2017

Athletics chiefs in wait to 'get right person' to fill Jones' role

Athletics

27 November 2013; Ireland National Endurance coach Chris Jones in attendance at a press conference ahead of the 20th Spar European Cross Country Championships, which take place in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, December 8th. Alexander Hotel, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
27 November 2013; Ireland National Endurance coach Chris Jones in attendance at a press conference ahead of the 20th Spar European Cross Country Championships, which take place in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, December 8th. Alexander Hotel, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Dave Hooper

Athletics Ireland endurance performance manager Chris Jones is to leave his post at the end of July and return to Wales due to family commitments.

Jones became Athletics Ireland's first full-time coach in June 2013, having coached Fionnuala Britton to become the first female two-time winner of the European Cross-Country Championships in 2011 and 2012.

The highly popular Jones arrived in Ireland in 2010, having previously been high performance director with Great Britain's triathlon association, having been credited with spotting Olympic gold and silver medallist brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

"Things are a lot better than when I arrived in 2010," Jones reflected. "It takes two Olympic cycles to get everything in train and I think we've had glimpses of the improvements in cross-country"

"I'm leaving when there's still a lot of good things to happen and I am looking forward to watching Ireland's middle-distance athletes over the next two years."

Jones initially worked as a consultant in developing Athletics Ireland's high performance plan, before coaching tri-athlete Aileen Morrison to numerous European and World Championship podium finishes, Jones began coaching Fionnuala Britton in late 2010.

"It was great coaching Fionnuala and Aileen to success, but my highlight is the women's bronze medal at the European cross-country last December," explained Jones. "It wasn't our strongest team but it proved Ireland can compete".

Athletics Ireland CEO John Foley was quick to praise the contribution of Jones. "I am disappointed Chris is leaving, but I fully understand that his family is priority."

Foley indicated that Athletics Ireland would take time in deciding on Jones' replacement in order to "get the right person".

Meanwhile, Ireland paratriathlete Aidan McGlynn has set his sights on qualifying for Rio in 2016 after finishing a respectable sixth in Sunday's Madrid World Paratriathlon Event. McGlynn is set to race next in London on May 30.

Irish Independent

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