|Tim Reddish OBE- President & Chairman, British Paralympic Association|
|Profile of the week|
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 11:16
Born in Nottingham in 1957, former leisure centre manager & sports development officer Tim Reddish OBE has transferred a very successful swimming career to the poolside, where since 2003 he has headed up the British Swimming Disability team.
From 1998 he juggled the role of National Performance Coordinator for Disability with his swimming career for four years before “hanging up his international swimming trunks” at the end of 2002 when he took up the role as caretaker performance director for the sport., he was later appointed to the role of National Performance Director (NPD) - Disability Swimming, a position he still holds today.
Tim has the role of the NPD for Disability Swimming. In addition to this, Tim is the Chairman of the British Paralympic Association and a board member of LOCOG the organising committee for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Throughout his 13-year international career, Reddish has attended three Paralympic Games, three World Championships and five European Championships where he has collected a total of 22 gold, 11 silver and ten bronze medals.
By Marc Sibbons
With the Olympic Games creeping up on London 2012, how are preparations shaping for the GB Paralympic team’s as a whole?
Everything is in place with regards to the sport and the athlete’s preparations as the governing bodies work on this on a daily basis. So from that point of view, everything is on track. Performances last year demonstrated that the preparations were going well.
From a multi-sport environment, which is what the British Paralympic Association are responsible for, our aim is to bring sports and teams together effectively in the run up to the games. This makes sure that athletes due to feature at their first Olympic Games are not coming into the multi-sport environment for the first time. This has been in preparation for some time now where we have a multi-sport camp based in Bath dedicated to extensive training going into the Games.
Plus, we also have a ‘nearest & dearest’ programme in place because of the positive and disruptive impact of a home Games. This is important.
As you have considerable experience in the swimming sector, how do you pass this on to the current crop of Paralympic swimming athletes?
Over the years my philosophy has revolved around mentoring and developing future generations. Over the years, I have been able to establish a disability swimming programme within the governing body which initially started of with two people, and now consists of over 20 people as at the core staff. This is of particular benefit to the staff and coaches where we have seen it grow immensely over the years with the new funds that have been made available, becoming very successful in the process.
Part of my personal challenge over the years was to mentor and develop the next generation of support staff, so my role is to assist and support this field as and when required.
With the second largest number of athletes and events at the Games, swimming is one of the most popular Paralympic sports. Are you confident that the GB team can collect Gold this summer? What countries will prove to be the toughest competitors?
We are as confident as we can be. Our objective is to put everything in place to facilitate the athletes achieving personal best performances. If they do that on the field of play, then we have done everything we can do both as a sport and as the board of the GB Paralympics, to allow the athletes the opportunity to be very successful this summer.
Fairly obviously every athlete’s dream is to win gold, especially in your home country, so I’m confident they are fully prepared for the next 5, 6 months. We’re on track but it’s not going to be easy by any means.
From a swimming point of view, the Ukraine has come a long way and both the U.S.A and Russia are looking very, very strong. We also have our old allies Australia to contend with, who are always competitive in this sector, so we have to be at our very best to achieve gold. We are still a small nation in comparison to countries like the U.S.A and China, so we have a big challenge ahead of us.
What are your greatest career achievements in the sport?
From an athletes point of view, it was being selected for my very first Games and winning my first medals in the sport. On a personal level, that was a great highlight and I have very fond memories of the event. As a performance director, the achievements the team put together in Athens, and later Beijing, is also up there with my best memories. Moving on from there, as the Head of Delegation, being part of the winter team in Vancouver assisting the overall preparation in London this year is also something I will never forget.
The Aquatics Centre and The Olympic Stadium to name a few are looking very impressive; will the venues in London prove to be a hit with the respected athletes and fans?
The feedback received so far has indicated that it will. The fans have been very positive, and even non-sports fans have been very supportive in helping the nation host a great Olympic Games. They want to see how the development in East London has progressed from what it was, to what it is now, and I think they have been left very impressed by all the work that’s has been done.
Just based on listening to the crowds at the Velodrome in the past week has certainly whet the appetite for what could be one of the best Olympic Games of the last 20 years. There is a definite buzz around London at the moment as the Games draws closer and long live that feeling!
Do you think these stadiums will be utilised appropriately once the Olympics has concluded? Is there a plan in place to make sure this happens?
Personally I think they will but it all depends on whether people make the effort to access them. We can provide world class facilities and opportunities after the Games has finished but I am very conscious of the impact that Newham Council are putting in place to make sure there is community access so I’m very hopeful this can be effective for the long term health of the venues.
With all the planning surrounding the Games for London 2012, the whole concept is not just about putting on a great show and then walking away, but more towards creating a positive legacy for the city and the nation. There are relevant companies in place to determine whether who every takes over the facilities in legacy mode is fit for purpose, and is there to ensure that the facilities support community and performance plans post 2012.