Laurent Meuwly has received the Coaching Achievement Award and becomes the first winner to be announced as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.
The Swiss coach has dedicated almost three decades to guiding athletes, having started coaching at the age of just 18. He is now head of sprinting, hurdles and relays in the Netherlands, working with athletes including world 400m hurdles champion Femke Bol.
In 2023, not only did Meuwly help to guide Bol to her world title, but their work saw the Dutch star improve her European record to 51.45 – the third-fastest performance of all time behind the 50.68 and 51.41 performances achieved by world record-holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone in 2022.
Bol also became a world record-holder herself in 2023, clocking 49.26 at the Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn in February to improve the 41-year-old world indoor 400m record.
She ran a world indoor 500m best of 1:05.63 in Boston and ended her indoor campaign by gaining double gold at the European Indoor Championships, winning the 400m and forming part of the victorious national record-breaking 4x400m team alongside Lieke Klaver, Eveline Saalberg and Cathelijn Peeters.
Under Meuwly’s tutelage, Klaver also claimed European indoor 400m silver, while the Dutch men’s 4x400m team secured bronze in Istanbul.
As well as Bol’s world title win, Meuwly guided that same women’s 4x400m quartet to gold and another national record at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.
Prior to his role with the Dutch athletics federation, Meuwly was head coach for sprinting, hurdles and relays in Switzerland. He continues to work with Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte, the 2021 European indoor 60m champion, while he was also coach to Swiss 400m and 400m hurdles record-holder Lea Sprunger.
Other coaches and athletes to have been mentored by Meuwly include Bram Peters, Jaroslaw Skrzyszowski, Liemarvin Bonevacia, Nick Smidt, Anna Kielbasinska, Pia Skrzyszowska, Viktoriya Tkachuk, Ayomide Folorunso, Viivi Lehikoinen and Tony van Diepen.
The Coaching Achievement Award recognises coaches who have made outstanding achievements and contributions to develop, encourage and strengthen coaching at all levels in athletics.
As well as his impact guiding some of the world’s best athletes, Meuwly has also published multiple articles and has been a keynote speaker in many coaching events, nationally and internationally.
“I feel really honoured to receive this special prize and I dedicate it to all the people who over these 30 years have been working with me, assisting me and supporting me, and also, of course, to all the athletes I have had the chance to work with,” said Meuwly, who was presented with his award by Bol during a training camp in South Africa. “I hope it is still a good sign to receive it just a year before the Olympics in Paris.”
The Coaching Achievement Award is the first of the honours celebrated as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.
Further announcements will be made in the coming days, ahead of the World Athletes of the Year and Rising Stars being revealed on Monday 11 December.