Loughborough University
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30 October 2008 - PR 08/154

Coach Gandy awarded prestigious athletics award

Loughborough University Director of Athletics George Gandy has received a prestigious award from the British Athletics Writers Association for his services to athletics.

Gandy, who has headed up the University athletics programme since 1976, was presented with the Ron Pickering Memorial Award by Lord Sebastian Coe at the Athletics Writers annual dinner, known as the athletics Oscars, in London on Saturday (25 October).

Gandy currently coaches the University’s endurance athletes including Commonwealth Games 1500m champion and Olympic finalist Lisa Dobriskey, a Loughborough graduate.

Over his lengthy career Gandy has guided many of Britain’s top international distance runners, notably former European 5000m champion Jack Buckner and double Olympic marathon fourth placer Jon Brown, as well as Coe, the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500m champion.

Whilst at Loughborough, Gandy has coached more than 100 teams to victory at national student competition and has been team coach at numerous Olympic, Commonwealth and World University Games.

Loughborough graduate Coe, who was coached by Gandy whilst studying and is now an IAAF Vice President and head of the London 2012 Olympic organising committee, paid tribute to his former mentor, saying: “When I arrived at Loughborough in the late 1970s some of the conditioning work this guy gave me provided the basis for much of what I achieved. It was revolutionary stuff.”

Shaun Pickering introduced the award which is named in honour of his father, a well-known coach and TV presenter in Britain throughout the 1970s and 80s. The former international shot putter revealed that he and Ron’s widow Jean have so far raised £900,000 to support young athletes in the UK since the fund was set up 19 years ago.

“I was totally and utterly surprised, but I’m very pleased to receive this award,” said Gandy. “I hold the Pickering family in the highest regard so to be acknowledged in association with them was something a bit special to me. And to receive it at the athletics writers dinner in front of so many people from the sport is a real honour.”

Phillips Idowu and Christine Ohuruogu were named British athletes of the year and 1500m runners Steph Twell and David Forrester won junior accolades.

Loughborough graduate David Moorcroft received the Ron Pickering Memorial Award in 2006.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

 

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