Leading athletics figure dies

AN Ipswich man who became one of the leading figures in British athletics has died. Andy Norman, the former promotions officer of the defunct British Athletics Federation (BAF), died yesterday on his return to England from the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.

AN Ipswich man who became one of the leading figures in British athletics has died.

Andy Norman, the former promotions officer of the defunct British Athletics Federation (BAF), died yesterday on his return to England from the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart. He was 64.

He had been working for the International Association of Athletics Federations as their advertising commissioner during the two days of the World Athletics Final at the weekend.

A former pupil at the Luther Road Primary and Tower Ramparts High schools, Mr Norman went on to manage some of the biggest names in athletics, including Dame Kelly Holmes, Jonathan Edwards and Steve Backley.

He was married to Fatima Whitbread, Britain's former javelin world champion, but the couple split in 2005. They have a nine-year-old son, Ryan.

Mr Norman, who, it is understood, still has family living in Ipswich, often returned to his home town, helping to stage the popular New Year's Eve race meetings.

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He was an officer in the Metropolitan Police, before launching a career in sports promotion, which saw him become a major figure in athletics during its halcyon days of the late 80s and early 90s.

Mr Norman, who grew up in the Maidenhall area, was at the centre of one of the sport's biggest controversies in 1994 when he lost his position with the BAF after allegations that his behaviour had played some part in the suicide of Sunday Times journalist Cliff Temple.

Radio Suffolk football commentator Bryan Knights went to primary school with Mr Norman.

He said: “When he was younger he was more of a footballer than an athlete.

“I spoke to him last two or three years ago. He was a quiet lad at school, but after he joined the police he became a big noise in athletics.”

Dame Kelly Holmes, Britain's double Olympic gold medallist, said: “I'm totally shocked. He ran British athletics at one stage and he worked with so many big names - people such as Linford Christie, Steve Ovett, Jonathan Edwards, John Regis and Steve Backley.

“He played a big part in my career he got me into races and was instrumental in me going to train in South Africa, which is now like my second home. My thoughts are with Fatima and Ryan.”

Would you like to pay tribute to Andy Norman? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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