Champion appointed as chair of Downtown Manchester

Commonwealth Games Gold medallist and Olympic competitor Diane Modahl has been named as the new chair of Downtown Manchester in Business.

DIB chief executive Frank McKenna said:

“I am delighted that Diane has accepted our invitation to chair Downtown in Manchester. She has a passion for the city; and has developed a reputation as a smart entrepreneur with the right values since retiring from athletics. Her work with youmg people is particularly impressive, and her sports foundation has been an inspirational initiative.

“With Diane’s support I am sure that our organisation will continue to progress in Manchester, and I am really looking forward to working with her. I know our members will value her contribution too.”

Diane commented:

“I have been hugely impressed by Frank and his teams work in Manchester. Downtown is a dynamic, vibrant business group that brings the right people together, and influences the city in a positive way. I am sure that 2018 will be a big year for Manchester, and for Downtown. I can’t wait to get started.”

Diane is one of Britain’s most successful 800m runners. She won a Gold Medal in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and followed this up with a further Silver and Bronze Medal. She has also competed in 4 Olympic Games, 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney. Unbeaten for six consecutive seasons over her specialist distance, Diane won six Amatuer Athletic Association of England titles and is both the former British and Commonwealth Record Holder.

Her determination, perseverance and strength were well documented on the track but she had to muster all her reserves off the track to deal with being falsely accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. It was a battle that tore her whole life apart, but one that she finally won after being proved innocent in 1996 and was fully exonerated. Such was her determination she went on to win another medal in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and returned to her position as one of Britain’s best ever 800m runners.

Since retiring from athletics she has dedicated herself to a number of great causes;  Lay Adviser to the Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group 2014 – 2015, Non Executive Director Primary Care Trust (PCT) NHS Manchester 2011-2014 and was previously the Chief Ambassador for the National Charity – Street Games.

In 2010 Diane and her husband Vicente established the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) a registered charity. Their passion is to raise the aspirations of young peple and give them resources, experience and knowledge that will help them devleop into strong confident individuals.

DMSF is committed in its mission to use sport as a catalyst for change and to give young people a sense of purpose through and beyond sport in education and employability. Qualified coaches, mentors and trainers work in Primary, Secondary, Academies and across the youth sector – delivering engaging sport and education programmes.

DMSF rely on building partnerships with like-minded organisations who seek to make a positive impact on the community and contribute to local skills, training and education. This enables team DMSF to go out and do what they do best. Turning barriers into an opportunity to cross the DMSF Blue Line.

Diane is also an author, having published The Diane Modahl Story, Going The Distance in 1995, and a BBC TV presenter.  To mark the 17th Commonwealth Games taking place in Manchester in 2002, the Greater Manchester Universities (Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, Salford University and UMIST) conferred joint honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters on Modahl, Sir Roger Bannister, Clive Lloyd CBE, the Rt Hon Donald McKinnon and Dr Mamphela Ramphele for their great contributions to the Commonwealth. Some people may recognise her from her appearance on ITV’s “I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!

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