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Eriksson returning as head of Athletics Canada

The Canadian Press

5/15/2013 2:10:35 PM

Peter Eriksson is returning to Athletics Canada.

The 60-year-old Swede stepped down as head coach of British Athletics on Wednesday, and while he says he doesn't have any plans, sources told The Canadian Press he will be named the new head coach at Athletics Canada.

Eriksson's resignation from British Athletics comes just seven months after he took the job.

He has lived in Canada since the 1980s and his wife and four daughters have remained there since he took over from Charles van Commenee following last year's London Olympics.

"This is a big disappointment but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces," said performance director Neil Black, who will fill Eriksson's role ahead of the world championships in Moscow in August.

Eriksson, who will leave at the end of June, says "there is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world. At present I have no plans, but accept that if I am to take any other job in sport it will be a step down."

When contacted by The Canadian Press, Athletics Canada denied that Eriksson has been hired.

Born in Stockholm, the former speedskater moved to Canada in 1987 and became a highly regarded wheelchair racing coach. He was named Athletics Canada's coach of the year in 2008 after helping wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc to five gold medals and three world records at the Beijing Paralympics.

Before taking the head coach position in Britain, Eriksson spent four years as the coach of Britain's Paralympic team. Britain's Paralympic medal haul rose from 17 in Beijing to 29 in London, 11 of which were gold.

Athletics Canada cleaned house in January, firing head coach Alex Gardiner and chief high performance officer Martin Goulet following Canada's disappointing performance in London.

The organization named Scott MacDonald its new high performance director in March.

Canada had set a target of three athletics medals in London but fell short, coming away with just one -- Derek Drouin's bronze in high jump.