Athletics: Former charges angry at Temple allegations

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The Independent Online
TWENTY athletes who were coached by the Sunday Times journalist, Cliff Temple, have written to the British Athletic Federation expressing 'extreme anger, disgust and hurt' at the claims of sexual misconduct allegedly made against him by the Federation's promotions officer, Andy Norman.

The athletes, including four internationals, say that any such claims against Temple, who committed suicide last week, are 'beyond belief and blatantly untrue'. They want the BAF to use their letter as evidence when it conducts an internal inquiry next month.

The Sunday Times alleges that Norman attempted to stop Temple writing an article criticising him by threatening to expose that the coach had sexually molested one of his best athletes, the former Olympic middle- distance runner, Shireen Bailey.

Bailey was among the 20 signatories of the letter, which is being sent to the BAF's new executive chairman, Peter Radford, who will be leading the inquiry, as well as the Kent coroner's office, which will be holding an inquest into Temple's death.

The letter reads: 'The undersigned athletes were coached by Cliff Temple between 1973 and 1994. We would like to express our extreme anger, disgust and hurt at the allegations which have been made against our coach Cliff.

'To his athletes, he was not only a respected coach and close friend, but also an honourable gentleman who passed on his knowledge and enthusiasm for athletics to his coaching group. The suggestion that he sexually harassed any of us is beyond belief and blatantly untrue.'

Hilary Thomas, who was coached to two UK 1500 metres titles by Temple, in the 1970s, said the athletes had been moved to write the letter when they assembled for his funeral last Monday.

She said the letter was from the training group overseen by Temple: 'We are but a small number of the people who Cliff has coached, but we are sure we express the sentiments of all those who were coached, helped or advised by him over the years.'

Folkestone AC, the club of which Temple was a former chairman, has written to Radford expressing 'grave concern' that the investigation will be kept internal. Dave Smyth, the club secretary, said: 'We have doubts whether BAF can conduct an investigation satisfactorily and are urging them to seriously reconsider that they should have an independent enquiry. It is not too late.'

Norman, who is continuing to organise this month's first major indoor international, in Glasgow, has so far declined to comment.

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