There were several strong contenders in the England Athletics Coach of Year category at the 2023 Sporting Equals Awards. Those shortlisted included Ruth Eytle from HoopsB4Work and Darren Moore, currently managing Huddersfield Town FC, on the night the award went to Leon Baptiste, an elite sprint coach for British Athletics.
Leon Baptist’s award has brought to light his remarkable contributions to the world of sports coaching. This prestigious accolade is a tribute to Baptist’s unwavering dedication, innovative strategies, and the positive impact he has had on athletics.
Following a succesful career as a sprinter, winning the 200m gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Leon turned his attention to coaching which has been his focus for ten years now. As one of the few black coaches within elite athletics Leon is passionate about supporting more ethnically diverse coaches to enter elite coaching.
Leon coaches both Olympic and Paralympic athletes. His key approach is one based around the ethos of inclusion and integration allowing Para and Olympic athletes to come together and train within the same group. Some of Leon’s success stories include; Sophie Hahn (Paralympic Gold Medalist and T38 world record holder), Zach Shaw (Commonwealth Silver Medalist) and Rio Mitcham (European Gold Medalist).
On the night of the awards Leon was presented his award by the former Premier League footballer Michael Chopra and Olympic Medalist Marilyn Okoro OLY.
Leon’s Coach of the Year win at the Sporting Equals Awards is a well-deserved acknowledgment of his outstanding contributions to athletics coaching. His ability to inspire, empower, encourage, and his commitment to diversity make him a standout figure in the world of athletics. As we celebrate his achievements, we also look forward to witnessing the continued impact of his coaching on the world of athletics.