Rodger Harkins is to step down as the Performance Director of scottishathletics, announces the sport’s governing body.

Harkins, in his role as head coach, led the Scottish track, field and marathon team to their best medal tally since 1990 at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.

“I have decided to retire from my position as Performance Director of scottishathletics following on from a successful Commonwealth Games cycle,” said Harkins. “As some people within the sport will be aware, I live in Cheshire with my wife (Val) and have decided that I would like to spend more time with my family.”

“I feel I have played a key role in supporting and developing the athletes and programmes during a period of great success for the organisation, but in particular, for Scottish athletes and coaches.

“I am leaving behind a strong staff team and a strong platform on which my successor can build upon. I wish everyone within athletics in Scotland all the best for the future and will no doubt continue to be visible at events across the UK.”

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Formerly coach to Lee McConnell, he was appointed to the Performance Director role with scottishathletics some three-and-a-half years ago, following the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealths.

“We would like to thank Rodger for his time at scottishathletics,” said Mark Munro, Chief Executive of scottishathletics. “He and the Performance Team did well to prepare Scottish athletes and coaches for the Commonwealth Games in Australia, which has been the main focus for him since he’s been in the post from the autumn of 2014.

“During his period as Performance Director, Scottish athletes (and coaches) have delivered strong performances on the world stage and that has been capped by five medals at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

“We can now look forward to further success under the leadership of a new Performance Director as we will make the next step to further develop programmes of support for athletes and coaches in Scotland to ensure continued success on the world stage.

“It’s a vital role for the coming years and our aspiration has to be to maintain and enhance performance levels by Scottish athletes and give guidance and leadership to their coaches.

“I am sure that you will all join us in wishing Rodger every success for the future.”

scottishathletics will confirm the process of appointment for a new Performance Director in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the governing body has announced a key development scheme as they look to build on the excitement and momentum of the Commonwealth Games.

The scottishathletics Thistle Awards engages with clubs to track performances by young athletes (primarily U15 and below) by logging their best run, jump and throw and allocating a series of awards with four categories.

It actually revives a scheme from the 1980s which was popular at the time with this time clubs the length and breadth of Scotland able to chart the athlete’s performances online.

Head of Development, Colin Hutchison, said: “We feel this is an exciting step and see it as a key development tool, working closely with clubs. We have already worked on pilot schemes with around 15 clubs and the outcomes so far have been very successful.”