Innovation prize goes to youth coaching programme

Great Britain's Scott Grace with the 2014 Overall Prize next to Adam Gemili holding his Rising Star trophy at the Golden Tracks ceremony in Baku two years ago.
European Athletics

Athletics 365, a teaching and coaching programme for young athletes created by England Athletics, has been awarded the top prize in the 2014 European Athletics Innovation Awards.

Announcing the award, Dr Sylvia Barlag, European Athletics Council member and the chair of the awards jury, said: "I congratulate England Athletics for this exciting programme, which is already having a significant impact on the grassroots of the sport in Britain and could well be a model for other countries.”

“The jury was impressed, first of all with how Athletics 365 creatively addresses the development of young athletes and how to retain them in the sport and then with how its implementation adds a new dimension to the operations and sustainability of athletics clubs.”

The award and a cash prize of CHF 10,000 were presented to the project leader Scott Grace on the evening of the European Athletics Golden Tracks in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday 11 October, when the European Athletes of the Year and Rising Stars of 2014 were crowned.

A detailed description of Athletics 365 will be published in the next issue of the IAAF’s technical quarterly New Studies in Athletics.

This year's Innovation Awards, the ninth edition of the biennial competition, attracted 41 entry files from 17 countries.  Both totals were the second highest in the history of the competition.

Judging in five categories was conducted by an international panel of experts. The evaluation criteria were "quality" and "relevance to athletics".

The list of Innovation Awards winners and jury members is found under 'Related Documents'.

In addition to Athletics 365, which was the winner in the Promotion category, the previously announced category winners for 2014 are:

·         Coaching  – “Monitoring Training Load in Sprint Interval Exercises” by Ari Nummela (FIN)

·         Technology - “Motion Estimation Using Inertial Sensor Technology with Applications to Sporting Exercises” by Michael Gasser (SUI)

·         Open – “α-actinin-3 deficiency is detrimental to 100 and 200m Olympic sprinting performance in six European and one American cohort of elite sprinters” by Ioannis Papadimitriou (GRE)

In addition to the four winners, the jury recognised 14 projects with certificates of Honourable Mention.

The jury decided not to name a winner or give an honourable mention in the Sustainability category.

"On behalf of European Athletics, I want to thank all those who invested their time and effort to make athletics better by entering projects," said Dr Barlag, "we are proud that the awards competition has continued to grow and attract their interest and commitment."

The European Athletics Innovation Awards were created in 1998 to encourage research and the sharing of new ideas leading to the promotion and development of the sport of athletics.

The competition is open to any European working in or otherwise associated with athletics, including sport scientists, academics, coaches and students. The tenth edition of the awards will be in 2016.