Paul Thompson joins UK Sport’s Coaching Fellowship

British Rowing coaches Paul Thompson and Christian Felkel graduate from the UK Sport Elite Programme, with Thompson invited to join the Coaching Fellowship

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Paul Thompson at the 2015 World Championships (Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images)

Paul Thompson, British Rowing’s head coach for women and lightweights, is among the first participants to graduate from UK Sport’s Elite Programme, with the 52-year-old also invited to join UK Sport’s coaching fellowship.

The Australian, who joined British Rowing in 2001, has led his athletes to unprecedented success at World Championship and Olympic level in the past 15 years, including a combined four golds and four silvers at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Christian Felkel, high performance coach for the open men and instrumental in coaching the men’s eight to gold at Rio 2016, also graduated from the rigorous three-year Elite Programme.

The Coaching Fellowship aims to champion the coaching profession and support the development of world class coaches in the UK, with Thompson and gymnastics coach Eddie van Hoof invited to join in recognition of both their success on the Elite Programme and as a coach.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have been invited into UK Sport’s prestigious Coaching Fellowship and to join such a select and eminent group of coaches. I look forward to championing coaching and the development of coaching in the UK through the Fellowship,” Thompson said.

“Coaching is both challenging and rewarding. Without outstanding athletes there aren’t outstanding coaches and I would like to recognise and thank the rowers I have coached and who have been part of the GB Women and Lightweights squad.

“It has also been a privilege to work with some exceptional coaches at the Great Britain Rowing Team and to have been supported by superb support staff who back us up.”

Graham Taylor, head of performance people development at UK Sport, said: “Congratulations to this fantastic group of coaches, who I know have both supported and challenged each other through this fantastic learning opportunity.

“Coaches are the crucial backbone of our high performance system, and I know this group will continue to provide world class support and direction for their athletes, as well as now using the wisdom they have gained on the programme to help us take British coaching from world class to world leading.”

Thompson and Felkel’s fellow graduates from the Elite Programme are: Anna Stembridge (Netball), David McNulty (Swimming), Eddie Van Hoof (Gymnastics), Mark Delaney (Canoeing), Michel Assouline (Para Equestrian Dressage), Peter Moores (Cricket) and Rob McCracken (Boxing).