The need for a definitive analysis of UK athlete performance over recent years

Since the establishment in 1997/8 of a new body- UKA Ltd -to manage athletics in the UK vast sums of taxpayers’ money as well as lottery funding have been ploughed into the sport with the aim of improving participation and performance. Funding for sport flows down from the DCMS, via UK Sport and Sport England to 45 sports of which athletics is a major beneficiary. In order to provide checks and balances Sport England has over the years set a number of measurable targets and KPI’s (Key performance Indicators) for athletics which many claim have not been met. Indeed the dilution of these targets over many years has been so great that the current target for sporting bodies is that they achieve an 80% “Satisfaction Rating” from participants.

ABAC believes that over the last 13 years pseudo statistics have been used to justify not only the 2004 re-organisation of athletics but also the continuing and expanding awards of funding from Government. ABAC has asked Sport England on many occasions to undertake a proper analysis of the results achieved by British athletes over the last decade. This they have refused to do but rather have paid more than £10million to Ipsos Mori to conduct meaningless surveys more suited to general participation levels than funded elite sport. (See our article dated 11 Jan 2010.)

Now we say enough is enough. We have had to put up with a string of press statements claiming that performances and participation has never been better when all along we judge the reverse to be true.

It is time that a proper, objective and independent study of the state of athletics in the UK be carried out.

ABAC does not have the vast financial sums which have been handed to UKA Ltd. But nonetheless ABAC has decided to get things moving by commissioning a limited study of the facts from one of the world’s most respected statisticians Rob Whittingham. We expect to have his first report in January 2011

Donations welcomed

ABAC plans to review many aspects of the performance of athletics since the 2004 Foster re-organisation. This will take much time, research and analysis all of which will require funding.

ABAC invites anybody who agrees that an independent factual review of athletics in the UK is urgently needed to send a donation to ABAC. Please make cheques out to ABAC (facts) and send to:

ABAC, c/o 19 Sheephouse Green, Wotton, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6QW

Rob Whittingham Biography

Rob has a BSc(Hons) in computer science from Manchester University. He has been a member of NUTS for 24 years and of ATFS for 15 years. He has been the Managing Director of two companies producing databases for more than 30 years. In 1994 he produced the first computerised web based athletics statistics for Umbra published as the TSB junior rankings comprising 16,000 athletes. He has been the editor of the NUTS Annual “British Athletics” for the last 21 years and co-edited the Commonwealth Games Athletics book.

Rob has worked with the BOA since 2005 on theoretical medal tables and consulted by the English Institute of Sport on certain all time lists. His company has worked for UKA Ltd setting up and running the Power of 10 website for 3 years. He created the points table for the McCain Challenge competition.

Rob now runs the “www.topsinathletics.info” website