National Coaching Foundation honours Olympic sailing coaches

Kate Hoey, Minister of Sport attends award ceremony

Thursday December 7th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
The National Coaching Foundation (NCF), in the presence of Kate Hoey MP Minister for Sport, has recognised outstanding coaching achievement with the induction into their Hall of Fame of another 23 coaches. The presentation took place at the Cafe Royal, London on the 7th December 2000.

Entry to the Hall of Fame is marked annually by conferring one of two awards, each named after outstanding coaches. The Mussabini Medal is to acknowledge outstanding achievement at world-class level by coaches, while the Geoffrey Dyson Award is for development of coaching and the work of individual coaches. Olympic sailing coaches honoured by the NCF in 2000 are Mark Littlejohn, John Derbyshire, David Howlett and Rod Carr, as follows:

Mark Littlejohn - Mussabini Medal

Mark Littlejohn has used his vast experience in sailing, which includes World Masters champion in 1998 and first at the Eurolymps (world class regattas) in the Laser Olympic class, to help coach and train Ben Ainslie and Shirley Robertson to Olympic gold medals in Sydney 2000. Mark was Ben's training partner leading up to the 1996 Olympics in which Ben won a silver medal, then again for the ISAF World Championships in which Ben went onto win gold. Mark has also trained World Youth Representatives to substantial degrees of success. It is Mark's technical expertise and drive to succeed that has helped so many people in the world of sailing.

John Derbyshire - Mussabini Medal

As well as managing the successful Olympic sailing team in Sydney, John's skills also extend to coaching and include being Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie's personal coach and mentor. He has been the Royal Yachting Association's Olympic Manager since 1996 and was the driving force behind the three gold medals and two silver medals won at the Sydney Olympics this year. A former PE teacher, John began working in sailing at the former National Sailing Centre in 1984 as a race instructor, his first involvement with the RYA. John's history of success in single-handers gave him a medal at the OK Worlds and also saw him become national champion, all laying down a sound base of expertise to facilitate his coaching career.

Dave Howlett - Mussabini Medal

Coach to Sydney Olympic gold medallist Iain Percy in the Finn sailing class whilst also offering technical coaching and support to Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson in Europe Class, Dave Howlett is a coach of considerable talent. His involvement in sailing has spanned over 30 years, starting with a sail-making apprenticeship in Austria going on to Queens University in Belfast to study Aeronautical Engineering, before serving in the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant. A talented sailor in his own right Dave has been associated with the Olympics since 1972 and coach to Seoul Olympic gold medallist Mike Macintyre and Bryn Vaile in 1988.

Rod Carr - Geoff Dyson Award

Besides being an excellent coach in his own right, coaching the Olympic sailing team for the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and again for the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics in 1988 and 1992, Rod was then appointed Racing Manager. He can quite rightly claim to be the architect of the Royal Yachting Association World Class Performance programme for sailing that has successfully attracted vital funds from the National Lottery to the sport. He can, with some pride, reflect in the golden glow achieved by the British Sailing Team in Sydney this year. Rod will see a new chapter in his career open on December 1st when he takes up his post as the RYA's Secretary General.

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