Zharnel Hughes wants UK Athletics to get ‘everything ironed out’ before Olympics

UKA parted company with technical director Stephen Maguire in October after a successful World Championships.

Nick Mashiter
Friday 19 January 2024 15:00 GMT
Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes won 100m bronze at the World Championships last year (Martin Rickett/PA)
Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes won 100m bronze at the World Championships last year (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Zharnel Hughes dismissed any fears over the direction of UK Athletics just seven months before the Olympics.

The Great Britain sprinter, who won 100m bronze at the World Championships last year, believes the governing body has no choice but to battle on.

Technical director Stephen Maguire’s sudden departure in October – after a record-equalling medal haul of 10 at the World Championships – was followed by the announcement of a £3.7million loss in December.

But Hughes, who has been training at his base in Jamaica, remains focused on his own work ahead of the Paris Games.

“They have to get themselves sorted out because they have major championships coming up,” he said, with Paula Dunn in interim charge through the Olympics.

“I hope everything will be ironed out by the time the championships come around and everything will be running smoothly for the athletes to be in the best place mentally to give our best performances.

“I hope they get their stuff sorted out. I see it, I read it but I keep my head down and keep moving.

“It did surprise me (Maguire’s departure). We had just come out of Budapest and, shortly after, it happened. ‘OK, what happened there?’ I just left it alone, no-one said anything to me.

“I’m pretty sure they’re aware it doesn’t have much to do with me. It’s not like I’m writing the cheques or anything.”

The 28-year-old is focused on this year’s outdoor season after opting to skip the indoor competitions, including the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.

Last year he claimed his first individual world medal, finishing third in the 100m in Budapest having broken the 100m and 200m British records.

He ran 9.83 seconds in New York in June – smashing Linford Christie’s 30-year 100m mark – before running 19.73 seconds in the 200m in London a few weeks later.

Hughes had written down 9.83 seconds in his diary before running the time and has already scribbled his goals down for this year.

“I’ve written down my times and what I want to accomplish. I’ve even said I want to break the British record again,” he said, ahead of defending his 200m European title in Rome in June.

“I want to medal in the European Championships and Olympics and want to get to the Diamond League final and see what I can do.

“Plans have been written down long before any New Year resolutions. I wrote them down in the first week of training.”

Zharnel Hughes is an ambassador for Vita Coco, for updates and information on the partnership visit: www.vitacoco.co.uk

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