Coe plans to return home for father's funeral

Sebastian Coe, who learnt when he arrived here on Saturday that his father, Peter, had died after a short illness, will go back home for the funeral before returning to China for the closing ceremony.

Lord Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 Olympic organising committee, had delayed his journey to Beijing to be at his father's bedside in a London hospital. The double Olympic 1500m champion said last month that his father, who coached him, had had "an extraordinary influence" on his life.

The most memorable example of that influence occurred in the wake of Coe's silver behind his huge rival Steve Ovett in the 1980 Moscow Olympic final, where he was hot favourite. "You ran like an idiot," his father told him. Coe went out and earned unexpected gold in Ovett's event of the metric mile.

Coe Snr, who was 88 when he died, was an engineer by profession, having survived when his merchant navy ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic during the Second World War. But as a novice coach, he recognised the prevailing methods of preparing for middle distance running were outmoded and set up a programme for his son focusing on repetitious speed work rather than lots of long, slower runs.

From the moment Coe emerged on the international scene as a 20-year-old in 1977 to win the European indoor 800m title with a long run for home, it was clear Coe Snr was right.

* Rain ruined the first day of the tennis yesterday, but there was still a surprise when top seed Ana Ivanovic withdrew from the competition because of inflammation in her right thumb.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test