Podcast: Coaching Voices with Tony Hadley - Birchfield Harriers Chair and sprints coach

The latest episode of the Coaching Voices podcast from England Athletics features Birchfield Harriers Chair Tony Hadley, the former coach of 400m runners Derek Redmond, Phil Brown. Du'aine Ladejo and Matt Hudson-Smith.

Tony provides a powerful eyewitness account of the unforgettable moment when Derek's father Jim - who sadly passed away last October - helped his injured son to the finish line at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

"Dad - who was stood next to me at the steeplechase barrier with 150 metres to go - said 'here, have this'. He thrust his camera into my midriff and barged his way past me," recalls Tony. I saw him legging it down the stairs and leaping over onto the track and shoving all of the security people out of the way to get to Derek and the rest is history."
Video: 1992 Olympics 400m. Watch on YouTube

Reflecting on Derek's journey to that point including multiple operations on his Achilles, Tony adds: "He'd had so many setbacks in his career that he wasn't going to be beaten by an injury".

In conversation with hosts Tom McNab and Alex Seftel, Tony also reflects on his own career as a sprinter during which Brown - who he was coaching at the time - beat him to 200m gold at the 1979 AAA Indoor Championships in Cosford. The former PE teacher jokes,

"At that point I thought 'I think I might be a better coach than I am a competitor'."

Tony HadleyIn more recent years, Tony has had several roles at both England Athletics and UK Athletics. This includes being a National Coach Mentor for England and an Event Lead for Speed with UKA. Last summer, he had the pleasure of seeing Hudson-Smith - who he helped bring through from junior to senior level - realise his potential by breaking the British 400m record and winning medals at the World and European Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games. The latter was of course with Team England on his home track in Birmingham.

"I started coaching Matt when he was 14," says Tony. "He grew eight inches in five years. Growing that much in a short space of time brought its difficulties, but he got there in the end and I'm very proud and very pleased with what he's achieved."

Tony - who talks through a method for assessing the quality of a coach - ends the conversation by talking about legacy and how he wants to engage his club's best-known alumni and inspire the next generation in the Midlands: "Watch this space with Birchfield," he asserts. "A sleeping giant is about to roar again!"

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