Lisa Letchford and Sarah Kelleher have been selected to join the UK Sport coaching programme that aims to double the representation of elite female coaches by the Paris 2024 Olympics.
They are two of 19 coaches who have been identified as having the potential to coach at Summer and Winter Olympics from Paris 2024 and beyond.
Letchford (nee Wooding) is currently the Lead Talent Coach (Girls) for England Hockey, having played for GB at the 2008 Olympics and England at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2006 World Cup. Former Irish international Kelleher currently coaches at Hampstead & Westminster HC and also led the England U18 NAGS girls’ squad.
They will now embark on a six-month programme where they will be offered key support and development opportunities, including time observing an assigned coach already working a high-performance community.
The programme was first announced back in November 2020, when the seven coaches currently working in elite sport who will lead were named alongside Karen Brown, the former England and GB Hockey coach and player who will act as a mentor throughout.
Letchford will spend her six months working with diving coach Jane Figueiredo while Kelleher will be with British Swimming’s Mel Marshall.
Speaking about the opportunity, Letchford said: “I’m very honoured to be accepted onto the first cohort of this programme. Not only am I shadowing one of the most experienced and successful female coaches, I get to network with some of the most talented upcoming female coaches in the UK, giving me numerous avenues to enhance my learning and progress as a coach.
“It is a very unique environment and one that I am determined to take the greatest advantage of.”
At present, approximately only 10% of coaching positions within the high-performance community in the UK are held by women. The leadership programme forms part of UK Sport’s long-term plan to address the current under-representation of female coaches at all levels of the talent pathway within the high-performance community.
The first target of this long-term plan is to ensure that by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, the number of female coaches available to Team GB and ParalympicsGB has more than doubled to 25%.