UK Athletics rocked by announcement Peter Eriksson is to stand down as head coach

The Swede replaced Charles van Commenee last October

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The Independent Online

Peter Eriksson will stand down as head coach of UK Athletics next month citing family reasons for bringing a premature conclusion to his five-year post.

The Swede was rewarded with the job of replacing Charles van Commenee last October after guiding Britain to third in the medal table at last year's Paralympics.

In contrast to his predecessor's often combative approach to the role, Eriksson had brought a calmer authority to the role as he set about building on Britain's three Olympic gold medals on the track last summer.

He will resign from the post at the end of June, leading the team for the last time at the European Team Championships in Gateshead on 22 and 23 of next month.

Making his announcement, he said in a statement: "Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step. There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world. At present, I have no plans but accept that, if I am to take any other job in sport, it will be a step down.

"However, no job is more important than family and children, and personal circumstances mean that mine need me to be back in Canada."

A search will now begin for a successor with performance director Neil Black adding the job of head coach to his portfolio for the remainder of the summer, including at August's World Championships in Moscow.

"This is a big disappointment but it could not have been foreseen six months ago," said Black. "And Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces."