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Monday, May 29, 2023

Shaun Pickering, mild and beneficiant big of the athletics world, dies aged 61

Olympic shot putter devoted a lot of his life to preserving the spirit of his dad and mom, Jean and Ron, alive by way of the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund

As an athlete Shaun Pickering was an Olympian, Commonwealth Video games shot put medallist and a number of Welsh champion within the shot, discus and hammer. But the throws big, who died on Thursday aged 61, may even be remembered for his passionate and energetic efforts to spice up the well being of British athletics, most notably the nation’s up-and-coming younger athletes by way of the charity that was named after his father.

Shaun was the son of Jean and Ron Pickering and you’ll battle to discover a household that has had extra of a optimistic influence on the game in Britain. An Olympic dash relay medallist in 1952 and European lengthy bounce champion in 1954, Jean was a much-loved determine within the sport and died in 2013. As an athletics coach, instructor and BBC commentator, Ron was one of many best-known characters within the sport earlier than he died unexpectedly in 1991 aged simply 60. Now, the game is mourning the lack of one other member of the household with Shaun surviving only one yr longer than his father.

Born into such an athletics-mad household, Shaun was destined to get pleasure from a life in athletics himself and after competing within the shot put on the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and World Championships in Athens in 1997 he went on to win bronze within the shot on the Commonwealth Video games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Shaun Pickering (Mark Shearman)

With a better of 20.45m in 1997, his shot finest nonetheless stands because the Welsh document and it locations him No.6 on the UK all-time rankings. He was additionally a wonderful discus and hammer thrower with bests of 54.38m and 68.64m – the latter being a Welsh document on the time – and impressively received a hat-trick of throws titles on the Welsh Championships a complete of thrice.

After retiring as an athlete, Pickering was indefatigable when it got here to preserving his dad and mom’ legacy alive. Alongside along with his sister, Kim, he labored with missionary zeal to construct the profile of the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, which was arrange following his father’s dying.

Referred to as the No.1 athletics charity in Britain, the ‘RPMF’ has given greater than £2 million to proficient younger athletes over the previous 32 years principally within the form of annual grants. Round two thirds of British athletes in groups for latest main championships have been helped by the charity at some stage and, amongst different issues, it helped Mo Farah purchase his first pair of operating spikes at a time when soccer boots have been most likely extra tempting.

Shaun Pickering (Mark Shearman)

Jean and Ron have been sturdy, decided and charismatic characters and Shaun inherited their traits. Being the son of such athletics greats, he had massive spikes to fill however did so in model and made an enormous mark of his personal on the game. His fundamental space of information was not surprisingly the throws – the place he possessed an encyclopaedic data – however his curiosity spanned all occasions, along with the advertising and marketing and politics of athletics plus the advanced world of broadcasting and tv rights. “Being often called Ron Pickering’s son opened many doorways and launched me to many nice folks,” he mentioned shortly earlier than his dying.

Possessing one of the vital revolutionary and imaginative minds within the sport, he was by no means wanting concepts to advertise and construct the No.1 Olympic sport. He was passionate and generally argumentative however all the time with the great of athletics on the forefront of his coronary heart. Beneficiant along with his time and data, he was a great good friend to many athletes and numerous coaches.

Standing at 6ft 6in tall and weighing effectively over 20 stone in his peak years as a thrower, he was an intimidating determine however he was the archetypal mild big. Approachable and pleasant, he would all the time discover the time to supply assist or recommendation.

It’s no shock, subsequently, that social media was awash with tributes after the RPMF broke the unhappy information by saying: “It’s with deep disappointment that we realized of the passing right this moment of our beloved Shaun Pickering. Shaun did a lot for athletics and to hold on the wonderful legacy of his dad and mom Ron and Jean. All our hearts exit to Shaun’s household and buddies at this dreadfully unhappy time.”

British Athletics posted: “Everybody at @BritAthletics is so saddened to listen to this information right this moment. Shaun liked the game passionately and cared deeply for athletes and his many buddies throughout the game. His work to proceed the success of @RunforRon Fund supported so many athletes.”

The English Faculties AA mentioned: “A beautiful man, and an enormous advocate for generations of younger athletes,” whereas England Athletics added: “We’re deeply saddened to listen to of the passing of Shaun, who cared passionately for our sport and was an inspiration to so many.”

Lynn Davies, 1964 Olympic lengthy bounce champion who was coached by Ron, mentioned: “Meriel (my spouse) and I are distraught with this very unhappy information. We have now misplaced a really shut good friend, who was virtually considered one of our household.

“We have now all the time been very near the Pickering household since I met Ron and Jean Pickering once they first got here to Wales. Shaun was a proud Welsh athlete and a passionate coach and supporter of athletics on this nation, identical to his dad earlier than him. Shaun was a giant man with a giant coronary heart. We are going to miss him dearly.”

Shaun Pickering with Jemma Reekie and Amy Hunt (Mark Shearman)

Peter Eriksson, the previous Olympic and Paralympic head coach at UKA, mentioned: “One of many best folks I’ve recognized. Shaun helped so many athletes. He’s going to be missed by many and never forgotten. Relaxation in peace, my good friend.”

Ian Hodge, statistician and long-time RPMF trustee, mentioned: “Shock information to listen to of Shaun Pickering’s passing earlier right this moment. Shaun was a 1996 Olympian, and alongside along with his dad and mom Jean and Ron did an immeasurable quantity for the game of athletics in Nice Britain.”

Fatima Whitbread, former world javelin record-holder, mentioned: “A mild big of our sport with a golden coronary heart. He can be sorely missed,” whereas Chris Turner, director of heritage at World Athletics, added: “Athletics and serving to athletes have been the core of his existence.”

Because the tributes poured in, Paralympic sprints champion Richard Whitehead mentioned: “Shaun’s legacy would be the Athlete, Coach however extra importantly a fantastic man!! Nice, nice loss to everybody.”

Sprinter Adam Gemili provided heart-felt feedback as effectively when he posted: “I can’t imagine that is actual. I’m actually coronary heart damaged. Shaun was one of many kindest and most beneficiant souls I’ve ever recognized. He gave me a house for a yr once I first moved as much as Loughborough. Gone manner too quickly. Relaxation straightforward Shaun, you’ll by no means be forgotten!”

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