1964 Olympian Gwenda Ward, Aims to Improve Young Athletes Development

Gwenda Ward nee Matthews – High Jumping for Great Britain in 1964. Photo: courtesy of Gwenda Ward.

Gwenda Ward is a Track & Field Coach based in Cumbria, North of England, who dedicates her life to the betterment of the sport of athletics and it’s coaching.

Gwenda represented Great Britain at the first Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, competing in the high jump and went on to compete the high jump and long jump, at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in KingstonJamaica.

Having remained in the sport ever since, Gwenda has continued to challenge the status quo and fought for better treatment of female athletes and young athletes.

Gwenda is now undertaking a professional doctorate at Liverpool John Moores University (North West England) researching the integration of mental skills into coaching with development stage athletes.

Front Cover of USATF ‘Track Coach’ Magazine for Fall 2021

Appearing in the latest edition of the USATF ‘Track Coach’ Magazine, Gwenda is interviewed by editor and Track Coach Russ Ebbets about her track & field development scheme called: 5Star5Steps, which was an initiative set up for the Tony Ward Memorial Trust, in memory of her husband.

Asked by Russ about the programme, Gwenda describes the premise of the programme:

“5Star5Steps is a scheme for primary schools (7 to11 years of age) designed to assist non-PE specialist primary school teachers to confidently provide enjoyable, technically and educationally sound track & field based activities for children. It is also designed to be flexible (indoors or out, adapt as necessary), and to require minimal equipment and organisation.”

Gwenda continues the interview by sharing the history of the programme:

“I set up the Tony Ward Memorial Trust in 2012 (with three other trustees) in memory of my husband who was a prominent coach, writer and commentator on athletics (track & field). He was also the British Athletics Federation’s press officer from the mid-80s to mid-90s—a golden period for GB athletics. He was concerned about the state of coaching in Great Britian and wrote extensively about it. So the trust’s aim was to improve young people’s access to good coaching in Cumbria where we live—a large but rural county in England with few facilities and relatively sparce population— i.e., more sheep than people!”

To read more of USATF ‘Track Coach’ Magazine, download HERE

To find out more about 5Star5Steps Programme: CLICK HERE