• London Olympics 2012

Van Commenee yet to decide on future

ESPN staff
August 13, 2012

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee will take some time to reflect on London 2012 before deciding whether to resign from his position.

The Dutchman, the disciplinary figure behind Team GB's track and field setup, set a target of eight medals (at least one gold) inside the Olympic Stadium for the hosts, stating time and time again that he would resign if that goal was not met.

Great British athletes eventually won just six medals - although four of those were golds - and Van Commenee, who has always insisted on accountability from his charges, will now ponder his own future despite calls from the likes of Lord Sebastian Coe for him to stay.

"When a target is not hit it should have consequences," Van Commenee said. "It's one of the pillars under our policy. That's what I implement to athletes and coaches. And that's what drives people to do better."

He added: "I'm very flattered by all the comments that reached me over the last 24 hours and the last few days but what is really important now is what is best for the programme. It's not about what's best for Charles, it's about what's best for British athletics, and that's what needs to be looked into very carefully."

Van Commenee admitted that he had been told to take some time before making a final decision, perhaps suggesting that his immediate reaction was to step aside.

"At the moment not much has changed for me, but I have taken advice from [UKA chief executive] Niels de Vos and the board and a few of my very best friends to go on a holiday first for a few weeks and look into it more rationally rather than emotionally," he revealed.

"At the moment, I'll look at what I've always said but I've promised the people that I respect and value to give it a few weeks, so that's what I'll do."

Gold medals for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah (twice) were the highlights for GB inside the stadium, although there were some disappointments - with medal prospects including Holly Bleasdale and Phillips Idowu unable to deliver their best as the relay teams also failed to pick up a single medal.

It is these disappointments that Van Commenee is struggling not to dwell on.

"The nightmare of a head coach is to be in a position where you need another medal and have to watch the 4 x 100 men," he noted. "The first thing you do is to look for a big hole to disappear in, even before the race. It's bad and in the end I am responsible."

However, he also added: "The performance of Mo Farah was very significant. First of all it's one of these moments we'll remember for the rest of our lives. I've never had the emotion I had in that golden hour on that 'Super Saturday' ever before.

"It was almost similar with Mo's 5,000 race. The noise and energy in the stadium was beyond belief. There was huge national pride. I felt immensely proud that we as a sport were able to produce that and give that to the nation."

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