Athletics Ireland has unexpectedly announced that national endurance coach Chris Jones will be leaving the organisation.
Jones has taken the decision to return to Wales due to family commitments, Athletic Ireland confirmed yesterday. The Englishman made his mark in Ireland by coaching Fionnnuala Britton to two European cross-country titles which led to him being appointed Ireland’s first ever full-time endurance coach.
On his departure he said: “I have had an incredible experience here in Ireland with my work with Athletics Ireland and previously with Triathlon Ireland. It was a privilege to work with Ireland’s leading endurance athletes including Fionnuala (Britton).”
He added: “We have a very strong network of endurance coaches here in Ireland and I wish them the best in their future exploits.”
Jones’s sporting profile began as a private coach and consultant with clients including the British Royal Navy and Royal Marines alongside elite athletes and members of the public, which ultimately led him to become head coach of British Triathlon in 1998.
In 2009, he became Director of Coaching for Triathlon Ireland where he had a successful period culminating in the 2012 London Olympics.
John Foley, chief executive of Athletics Ireland said: “Chris has made a significant contribution to Athletics Ireland and while I am disappointed that he is leaving us, I fully understand that his priority is his family.
“I have no doubt that Chris will make an enormous contribution to any organisation using his coaching expertise and I wish him all the best.”
He added: “We have invested in delivering coach education programmes but it is the clear ambition of Athletics Ireland is to have full-time coaches in all disciplines. With Chris’s departure we will now be taking time to consider the best steps forward for the association and the sport, with this ambition in mind.”
High performance director Kevin Ankrom said; “I would like to thank Chris for the contribution he has made to Athletics in Ireland and to the High Performance Team, his wealth of experience has helped to further drive performance coaching in Ireland by developing and supporting endurance coaches.”
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