Hockey’s Karen Brown has been named as one of nine coaches singled out for development under the UK Sport ‘Elite Coach’ programme.

With the countdown to London 2012 truly off and running, the move came as the UK’s high-performance sports organisation revealed the 2005 intake of its innovative ‘Elite Coach’, which aims to accelerate the development of the nation’s most exciting coaching prospects. Being part of Elite Coach promises a challenging three-year journey on a fast track to coaching excellence.

The scheme will see tailor-made programmes developed for each of the nine coaches, which will not only allow them to develop their technical skills by working with and observing the best in action, but also to develop the leadership skills which are the hallmark of the best operators in high-performance environments in the world of sport, business, industry and the arts.

'As the name suggests, our intention is to take some of the most promising coaches that British sport has to offer and to expose them to the best practitioners from the sport sector and beyond - wherever they happen to be in the world', said Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s Director of Performance.

'When you add that to the ability for this group to share their experiences with one another, you have a powerful mix that will result in a new breed of elite coach capable of inspiring our athletes to new heights. We know that Karen Brown will play a key part in making it happen.'

”Karen’s appointment is the start of one of the key objectives for hockey for 2012 in finding and developing new, young, coaches for the sport,” England Hockey Performance Director, David Faulkner, said.

“Karen’s selection is a huge boost for the game overall as we turn positively towards 2012.  Karen will also be supporting the women’s performance programme for England Hockey.

“We wish her every success in the programme which, no doubt, she and hockey will benefit from.”

During her playing career, Brown represented Great Britain at three Olympics and won a bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992. Since retiring as a player, she turned to coaching and has since coached with the Under 16 and 18 national teams, England B and is currently Team Leader for the England Women’s Under 21 squad.

“Coaches will play a critical role in our ambition to move up the Olympic medal table both in Beijing and critically in London 2012. As such, Elite Coach represents a key strategic investment in our drive for success and as the past 12 months have shown, is capable of delivering results in an accelerated timeframe”, added Nicholl.

UK Sport hopes that the £500,000 per year programme will produce more than 50 elite British coaches by 2012.