Athletics News

Athletics innovator and administrator supreme, John Lister, dies aged 81

Athletics innovator and administrator supreme, John Lister, dies aged 81

Clive Williams looks at the remarkable achievements of one of the UK’s finest athletics administrators

John Lister, who died on May 6 aged 81, was one of Britain’s leading athletics administrators and innovators and one of the architects of the structure of the modern-day sport in the UK.

He was a remarkable man who was just at home serving his club, where he was treasurer for almost 40 years, as occupying the same role for the UK governing body. He was the UK representative on the governing body of European athletics for 12 years and was awarded the MBE in 2010 for his services to athletics.

John will go down in UK athletics history as the man who put the proposal on behalf of his club, Cardiff AAC, to the AAA AGM in 1982 for a single governing body to govern athletics in the UK. At the time all of the various branches of the sport in the UK were governed by separate bodies.

The proposal was overwhelmingly approved but it took another 10 years before the new UK governing body – the British Athletics Federation (BAF) – became operational. So Cardiff AAC – and indeed athletics in Wales – were in the vanguard of organisational change in a sport that had been largely unchanged since being codified a century earlier.

On hearing the news of his death the former UKA President and 1964 Olympic long jump champion Lynn Davies said: “John was a personal friend and an uncompromising leader and administrator and the sport of athletics in the UK and indeed Europe has lost an exceptional pace-setter who devoted his life to our sport.”

He continued: “John was also a very generous person, and I was very grateful when, along with another Cardiff businessman in 2014, he paid for Ralph Boston, the 1960 Olympic Champion and former world record-holder to come to Cardiff to help me celebrate the 50th anniversary of my Tokyo win.”

John Lister with Lynn Davies and Ralph Boston

In 1986 John became treasurer of the AAA which at the time governed the sport in England and Wales. He held this post until BAF was formed in 1991, holding the treasurer position until 1996. Interestingly at this time, his Cardiff club colleague the late Bill Evans was chair of the AAA and then of BAF, so effectively two members of the Cardiff club were two of most important officials in UK athletics. Underlining the commitment of both to grassroots athletics, they could often be found serving in the club’s canteen!

In 1995 John was elected the UK’s representative on the…

CLICK HERE to Read the Full Original Article at AW…