Scottish Athletics: Rodger Harkins plans to 'steady the ship'

Rodger Harkins
Rodger Harkins replaced Stephen Maguire as director of coaching at Scottish Athletics

Rodger Harkins believes his main priority at Scottish Athletics is to provide some continuity for the sport.

Harkins is the organisation's their fourth head coach in the last five years.

"I plan to be here for eight years. We've had a number of head coaches over the last few years and it's been difficult," he told BBC Scotland.

"What I'm trying to do is create some stability within the coaching community, steady the ship a bit."

In September, the Scottish former triple jumper took over from Stephen Maguire, who is now UK Athletics' head of power, responsible for sprints and relays.

Scottish Athletics director of coaching Rodger Harkins
"More Scottish athletes in the British team, more Scottish athletes getting to European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games - that would be a measure of success."

While stability is his chief focus, Harkins also wants to see greater international opportunities for Scottish athletes, including for men's and women's sprint relay teams.

"The aim is to try to improve Scottish sprinting through a relay programme and get two 4x100m relay teams to the next Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast," he said.

"If we can drive that forward and get a successful relay programme, I'm sure that would spread out and Scottish sprinting would pick up again."

Harkins has recruited former Scottish sprinters Dougie Walker and Ian Mackie to help him bring through the next generation.

"Success for me will be seeing an increase in participation, more athletes able to compete at Great Britain level, because Scotland can only compete nationally once every four years," he added.

"More Scottish athletes in the British team, more Scottish athletes getting to European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games - that would be a measure of success."

Harkins has been coaching athletes for 34 years and is credited with developing the career of Lee McConnell, who won Commonwealth and European 400m and 400m hurdles medals, as well as World and European medals in the 4x400m relay.

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