(Reuters) – Former performance director of UK Athletics (UKA) Neil Black died over the weekend at the age of 60, the organisation said on Tuesday.
Black stood down as performance director after seven years in October when Britain managed only five medals at the world championships in Doha, the lowest total since 2005.
He had also been considering his position after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed down a four-year ban to American coach Alberto Salazar, who was a consultant for UKA until 2017 and had Black’s support.
“British Athletics is shocked and saddened to confirm the loss of our friend and former colleague Neil Black who passed away suddenly at the weekend,” UKA said in a statement.
“Neil loved the sport of athletics and dedicated his life to supporting athletes – as a world class physiotherapist, as head of sport science, and then in recent years as performance director for British Athletics.”
Despite leaving the organisation in 2019, UKA said Black continued to support many athletes and coaches as an advisor.
“He came everywhere with me and made sure I was held together physically and mentally,” British heptathlete and Olympic medallist Kelly Sotherton said on Twitter.
“So many things I want to say… I’ll miss you forever Neil Black.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)