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Helping Mallory Franklin win Olympic silver at Tokyo 2020 puts Sawbridgeworth's Craig Morris in running for a UK Coaching Award



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Craig Morris could cap a hugely memorable year by winning a prestigious accolade next month.

The Sawbridgeworth-based coach was part of Team GB's canoeing contingent at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the summer and saw one of his athletes, Mallory Franklin, claim a silver medal.

And Morris' exploits have been recognised as he is in the running for the High Performance Coach of the Year gong at the UK Coaching Awards.

Craig Morris (52849897)
Craig Morris (52849897)

Morris, who moved to Sawbridgeworth six years ago to be closer to the Lee Valley White Water Centre, is the podium technical coach – slalom at British Canoeing, working with athletes Franklin, Adam Burgess and Kimberley Woods across five disciplines.

He saw Franklin win silver in the women's canoe single class (C1) as it made its Olympic debut in Japan while Burgess (men's slalom C1) and Woods (women's slalom K1) also made their finals.

The amended training and virtual support given to the athletes by Morris was highlighted by each of them as critical to their motivation when it seemed the Olympics was a disappearing goal due to the pandemic.

Olympic silver medallist Mallory Franklin works with Sawbridgeworth-based coach Craig Morris. Picture: Chris Worrall
Olympic silver medallist Mallory Franklin works with Sawbridgeworth-based coach Craig Morris. Picture: Chris Worrall

"It's taken every ounce of commitment and passion from so many to continue to explore, grow and perform in this pandemic," said Morris. "I hope this nomination in some small way can serve as an acknowledgement of all their efforts.

"The last two years have been a strange balance of both adversity and opportunity, but, above all else, the enforced opportunity to slow down invited us to look at ourselves and decide what is important in our lives.

"My proudest coaching moment so far is watching athletes realise their dream of becoming Olympians and knowing that I was invited along to support them through an incredible experience. In this way, coaching is an incredibly humbling experience."

Morris is up against para-badminton coach Richard Morris and gymnastics coach Scott Hann with the winners being announced at a ceremony in Leeds on December 7.



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