In this Podcast I talk to Hannah England and Ashley Bryant from the UKA Athlete Commission, set up to give athletes a “respected voice” to influence decisions made within track and field athletics. The commission seeks to address an undercurrent of frustration, in areas such as team selection, rule changes, reduced tv coverage and ineffective marketing, by ensuring a dialogue between athletes themselves and those making the decisions that affect them. We talk about the importance of having this good, positive working relationship with the governing bodies, in order to bring about this much needed change.
When there’s something you don’t agree with “stop moaning about it and go out and try and change it”. Hannah and Ashley joined the commission as both felt the need to take a more proactive role with Hannah now feeling her opinions are worth more, now she’s in a position to help to create change.
Suboptimal transparency and consistency have often led to reduced trust in the system and the Commission has worked tirelessly to change this. Nowhere is this more evident than the team selection process. “There should be no surprises coming out of selection meetings” says Ashley, athletes should know what’s required of them and be able to trust the system. Progress has indeed been made in this area with a commission member now present at selection meetings, improving accountability and trust. The importance of maintaining independence from governing bodies, and of working alongside the likes of Christian Taylor at the Athletics Association, to effect global change, is also discussed.
“The athlete voice is important”.
A new line up of staff heading governing bodies with fresh ideas, there is a new positivity about where the sport is going, important in this (hopefully) Olympic year. The Commission’s New Year’s resolution is to “bang our own drum” a bit better and shout about what they have achieved and what they hope to achieve in the future … here’s to more positive change in 2021.