Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Olympic athletics coach Mike Smith's funeral held

Mike Smith

The funeral has taken place for an athletics coach who trained international athletes like Roger Black and Iwan Thomas.

Mike Smith, who was based in Southampton, died earlier this month, aged 88, after a short illness.

Ex-Olympians Black and Thomas were among those attending a memorial event at the city's Central Hall.

Thomas described Mr Smith as the coach who "changed my life".

He told the memorial gathering how his mentor coached "for the love of the sport", remembering Mr Smith had to be persuaded to accept a TV set as a thankyou, after helping him reach the world stage.

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Media captionMike Smith cheered on Iwan Thomas in the 1998 Commonwealth Games from the BBC studios in Southampton

Mr Smith was renowned for his work training more than 30 up-and-coming athletes as well as international stars, in a career spanning five decades.

He also worked as a broadcaster with BBC South television and BBC Radio Solent.

BBC South sports editor Tony Husband said he was a "special talent".

"Mike embodied what BBC local radio sport was all about in its early years. A local voice, deeply passionate about local matters."

He is survived by his wife Jo, daughter Janet and son Bob.

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