Darren Campbell says the “time is right” for Christian Malcolm to be handed a top job in British athletics.
Malcolm, born in Wales of Jamaican descent, is in contention for the head coach role at UK Athletics.
And Campbell insists whether it is that position or another lead role, his former Great Britain team mate should be lured back from Australia, where he heads up their high performance and coaching programme.
“Christian has all the attributes you’d want in a successful candidate and it would be great to see him get the opportunity,” said Campbell.
“He’s been in the team, he’s coached the team, he knows everyone. Straight away that takes away the worry athletes might have about a new head coach coming in.”
UKA boss Joanna Coates has promised a “new start” for the troubled sport in Britain.
“There is an issue within sport that we don’t have enough black coaches, we don’t have enough black people coming through as administrators,” she told Mirror Sport last week.
“It’s something I’m absolutely passionate about addressing.”
Campbell welcomed Coates’ comments, saying: “Those are the kind of words we have needed to hear for a long time.
“In the past it’s often felt that the right people have not been given opportunities and listening to Joanna it sounds like that will change.
“That’s all anyone wants. If you then fail, or you’re not the best person for the job, so be it.”
As an athlete Malcolm, a former two-distance world junior sprint champion, competed for Britain at four Olympics and won medals at two senior world championships.
After hanging up his spikes he spent four years as head coach of Britain's sprint relay teams and oversaw the men's 4 x 100m triumph at the London world championships.
Campbell, who won Olympic relay gold in Athens in 2004 in a squad also containing Malcolm, added: “I don’t think any black coach or athlete would want something just because they’re black.
“And I don’t want Christian to get it just because he’s black – rather because he’s been successful out in Australia and the timing is right for him to have the opportunity.”
Malcolm moved to Melbourne in February last year to take up the role and prepare Aussie athletes for an Olympics which has been postponed until next summer.
Toni Minichiello, who coached Jess Ennis-Hill to greatness, and Stephen Maguire, Scottish Athletics’ director of coaching, are also in the frame for GB’s head coach role, applications for which close on Sunday week.
Minichiello's straight-talking approach would certainly challenge the status quo and bring much-needed change.
While Maguire heading up the coaching team with Malcolm in charge of sprints and relays – and next in line for the top job – is another strong option.
Whoever gets the nod Campbell insists: "Everything needs challenging – because look where we’ve ended up.
“Considering the talent we’ve got in Britain it's crazy to think that had the Olympics been this year we could have been putting our hopes on two athletes, Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.”
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