British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
December 20 - Andy Wood has quit as head coach of Britain's badminton programme after only four months in charge and less than two weeks after the sport's funding was cut by more than half-a-million pounds.
It is another blow for the sport's preparations for the London 2012 Olympics following the resignation in June of Ian Moss as performance director and then the decision earlier this month but Government agency UK Sport to cut its funding after a British player or pair failed to reach the quarter-finals at the World Championships in August shortly after Wood assumed his new role.
They cut £541,700 ($858,207) from badminton's funding over the final two years of the current programme – from £7,970,600 ($12,627,692)·to £7,428,900 ($11,769,486)·- equating to a 14 per cent decrease.
That meant the number of Podium funded athlete places would need to be cut from 11 to six.
Wood is Britain's most successful badminton coach having guided Simon Archer and Joanne Goode to Britain's first Olympic badminton medal, a bronze in Sydney 2000, and Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms to their silver in Athens in 2004.
In the 2006 World Championships he coached all four of the finalists in the mixed doubles, with Robertson and Emms winning the gold medal and Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg the silver, a fact which contributed to him winning the Sports Coach UK, Male Coach of the Year later that year.
Badminton England Chief Executive Adrian Christy said: "Having headed the GB team at the last three Olympics Andy's extensive experience will be sadly missed and I wish him every success with the next stages of his career.
"We now need to look to the future and secure the right candidate to drive the sport forward through to 2016; we will commence the recruitment process with immediate effect.
"A strategic review of the 2012 and 2016 programmes is already under way and the successful appointee will be key to driving the success of this programme."
Vikki McPherson, head of GB Performance, said: "Under Andy's leadership in the training hall we had already started to make significant progress into creating a driven, accountable and performance focused environment; momentum that we will ensure we retain in the lead up to the year-long Olympic qualification programme for London 2012 commencing in May 2011.
"I am very disappointed to have only had the opportunity to work with Andy for such a short period of time, however fully respect his decision and the motivations behind it.
"With a strong coaching and support staff in place there is a real opportunity for the successful candidate to build on this momentum, lead the team into 2012 and lay the foundations to take us through until 2016."
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December 2010: GB Badminton to ask itself "hard questions" to meet challenge of funding cut
December 2010: Hockey winner, badminton loser latest in UK Sport funding review
August 2010: Wood named as new British head badminton coach
June 2010: Badminton England performance director quits