By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

June 25 - Britain's top athletes have been told to stop complaining in the build-up to the London 2012 by Dan Pfaff (pictured), the American coach hired to help make sure they fulfil their potential at the Olympics.

Pfaff was appointed last July by UK Athletics to head the Lee Valley High Performance Centre in East London where several of Britain's top athletes train, including Olympic 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu.

Among the reasons he was appointed was to try to help prevent so many of Britain's top athletes missing major championships through injury.

Nine British athletes missed the World Championships in Berlin last summer, including medal favourites Paula Radcliffe, Kelly Sotherton and Natasha Danvers.

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee had warned last year that Britain's athletes needed to toughen up as many came across to the public as "pussies".

Pfaff has clearly been less than impressed by the attitude of some athletes he has worked with since arriving from California at Lee Valley, where more than 50 per cent of Britain's top athletes are based.

He told Spikes magazine: "There might be a little more of a can-do attitude in America.

"One of the things we have to stop here is athletes moaning about their lives.

"They must be appreciative of what they have.

"We need to change their energy, make it more positive.

"If you expect accidents and disasters, there is a good chance you are going to get them."

His comments have coincided with the beginning tonight of the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Birmingham where among the absentees are Ohuruogu, Danvers and world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis through a combination of injury and illness.

Pfaff, who has coached three Olympic gold medallists, including former world 100m record holder Donovan Bailey, is currently helping to introduce a major overhaul of Britain's medical system, which will focus more on prevention rather than cure.

He said: "In the past there's been a firefighter attitude - 'Let's put this fire out!' - instead of working out what the causes are.

"It takes a year for the people in the system to figure out you have got to change.

"We'll be a lot further ahead come October."

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