By Mike Rowbottom at Loughborough High Performance Centre

Paula Dunn 211112November 21 - Paula Dunn has taken over as UK Athletics' Paralympic head coach following the departure of Peter Eriksson, who is now head coach of the UK Athletics able-bodied athletics programme, it was announced here today.

Dunn (pictured top) worked with Eriksson for the four years leading up to the London 2012 Paralympics, where Britain's fortunes in the Paralympics underwent a sea change, and the former 100 metres European bronze medallist and Commonwealth Games silver medallist will now take on the main responsibility for delivering further success at the Rio 2016 Games.

Dunn was an integral part of the coaching team who turned around the performance of ParalympicsGB athletes after Beijing 2008, with the team finishing second on the medal table in the 2011 World Championships and third at the London 2012 Paralympic Games this summer.

Dunn is no stranger to the pressures of being a leading international athlete and her extensive experience in both competing and coaching on the world stage are a unique and valuable asset to the Paralympic team.

Paula Dunn 21-11-121Former sprinter Paula Dunn was a key member of Peter Eriksson’s coaching team at London 2012

"London 2012 had an amazing impact on Paralympic sport in this country and we have a real opportunity to build on that over the next four years," said Dunn, who takes up the post with immediate effect.

"I believe that there is more talent out there and I am looking forward to unearthing that talent and building on the success of 2012.

"Working closely with Peter over the past four years has been superb, but I am looking forward to taking the reins and continuing what is in effect a long term plan to see further medal success in Rio in 2016.

"As a former European and Commonwealth Games medallist, I know the commitment, passion and sheer determination it takes to achieve the very best.

"I have used this experience to develop some of the best Paralympic athletes in the world and I can't wait to take the team to the next level."

UK Athletics performance director Neil Black said: "Paula played a significant role in the Paralympic team's success at London 2012 and she is an outstanding appointment who will ensure continuity as well as further improvements in fulfilling this role.

"Whilst the Paralympic team was excellent in London, finishing third in the world with 29 medals, 11 of which were golds, there is a great platform on which to build and I believe that we can still improve for Rio 2016."

Paula DunnPaula Dunn won two Commonwealth Games medals over 100m

Dunn was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on December 3 1964.

She forged a career in athletics as one of Britain's best female sprinters with personal bests of 11.15sec for 100m and 22.69 for 200m, ranking her fifth all-time in Great Britain for both events.

She competed at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay and won two Commonwealth Games medals over 100m; firstly taking silver in Edinburgh in 1986 and then clinching bronze eight years later in Victoria, Canada.

Dunn has worked in the UK Athletics performance team for 11 years and was appointed to the role of Paralympic performance manager in 2009.

Based at Sport City in Manchester, Dunn has worked with a number of Great Britain's Paralympic athletes, including all of the athletes on the Podium Potential level of the World Class Performance Programme and seven of the athletes on Podium level.

She was also coach to Katie Jones, who competed in the 400m hurdles at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Read the insidethegames blog on the appointment here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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