altApril 21 - UK Athletics today announced that it had set-up a new National Race Walk Centre in Leeds under the leadership of Andi Drake (pictured).


Drake has been appointed as the Carnegie director of race walking at Leeds Metropolitan University.


Drake - who officially took up the post this month – is a UK Athletics level 4 performance coach in race walking and a UK Athletics level 3 performance coach in marathon and distance running.


He has a wealth of academic and practical experience of the discipline, including holding a related PhD on elite performance race walking, acting as personal coach to athletes who have competed at Olympic, world and Commonwealth level and 18 years competing for Britain, including at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games.


The role will encompass a number objectives, including providing coaching support to race walkers on the UK Athletics world-class performance programme, providing coach mentoring to designated coaches in agreement with England Athletics and UK Athletics and to manage and organise a future training programme for nominated race walking athletes.

Drake said: “I am delighted to be taking up this position and appreciate the foresight of Leeds Metropolitan University and UK Athletics in giving race walking a permanent centre in the UK.


"We have some very exciting talent coming though in race walking in the UK, both in terms of athletes and coaches.


“We have a strong foundation in place and I look forward to developing race walking in the lead up to 2012 and building a legacy to last beyond the London Olympic Games.”


Malcolm Brown, the director of sport at Leeds Metropolitan University said: “We are delighted to welcome UK Athletics and Andi Drake to the University.


"Our commitment to coaching is significant and Andi is a fine coach with an international reputation.


"He joins Mick Hill, our director of athletics, in building upon the Carnegie heritage in the global sport of track and field.


“Andi will be responsible for developing the sport further within the University and nationally in partnership with UK Athletics and we are grateful to the governing body in showing confidence in us.


“As the home of the UK Centre for Coaching Excellence we see this as a development of our critical mass of talented coaches on campus.


"Andi's academic credentials in sports science will strengthen our expertise in the understanding of endurance events and our research profile."