Paula Dunn
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Paula Dunn

Paula Dunn
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Great Britain
Bronze medal - third place 4x100 m relay
Representing  England
Gold medal - first place 4x100 m relay
Silver medal - second place 100 metres
Silver medal - second place 4x100 m relay
Bronze medal - third place 100 metres
Bronze medal - third place 4x100 m relay

Paula Dunn (also known as Paula Thomas, born 3 December 1964) is an English former sprinter who competed in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 x 100 metres relay. She represented Great Britain in all three events at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. At 100 metres, she won a Commonwealth Games silver medal in 1986 and a bronze medal in 1994. Her personal bests of 11.15 secs in the 100 metres and 22.69 secs in the 200 metres, were the fastest times run by a British female sprinter during the 1990s.[1]


Dunn was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England and was a member of the Trafford Athletics Club (formerly Stretford). She finished sixth in the 100 metres at the 1985 AAA Championships, before making rapid progress in 1986, improving her 100 m PB from 11.67 to 11.25 secs (she also ran a wind-assisted 11.14), winning both the AAAs and UK National 100 metres titles.[2] At that year's Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, she won a silver medal in the 100 metres, just one one-hundredth of a second behind the winner Heather Oakes but ahead of the Canadian Olympic finalists Angella Issajenko and Angela Bailey. She then teamed up with Oakes, Kathy Cook and Joan Baptiste to win gold in the 4x100 metres relay. Later that year she placed seventh in the 100 metres final at the European Championships in Stuttgart.

In 1987, Dunn competed at the World Championships in Rome, reaching the semi-finals in the 100 metres. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, she reached the semi-finals of the 200 metres, and also competed in the 100 metres and 4x100 metres relay. She placed fourth in the 60 metres final at the 1989 European Indoor Championships, before going on to finish second at both 100 & 200 metres at the 1989 European Cup in Gateshead, finishing behind the East Germans Katrin Krabbe and Silke Moller respectively. Also in 1989, she won her fourth consecutive AAAs 100 metres title.[3] Between August 1986 and January 1990, Dunn was unbeaten at 100 metres by another British woman.

In January 1990, she won relay silver at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, with Stephanie Douglas, Jennifer Stoute and Simmone Jacobs. In the summer, now competing under her married name of Paula Thomas (she would be known by this name for the remainder of her athletic career) she won a relay bronze medal at the European Championships in Split, along with Douglas Bev Kinch and Jacobs. She competed at the 1991 and 1993 World Championships. In 1992, she had missed the entire year due to pregnancy.

Dunn reached her peak in 1994, achieving her lifetime bests at that years Commonwealth Games in Victoria. In the 100 metres she won a bronze medal in 11.23 secs, having run her pb of 11.15 secs in the semi-finals. In the 200 metres, she narrowly missed a medal running another lifetime best of 22.69 secs. These times would remain the best sprint times of the decade by a British woman. She added another bronze in the sprint relay. In 1995, she competed at her fourth World Championships in Gothenburg, reaching the semi-finals in the 200 metres. She earned selection for the 1996 Olympic Games, but was forced to withdraw due to illness.[4] As of 2018, Dunn ranks 10th on the UK all-time list at 100 metres and 11th at 200 metres.

Later career

Dunn began working for UK Athletics in 2001 and was appointed Paralympic performance manager in 2009. After London 2012, she was promoted to the position of Paralympic head coach, replacing Peter Eriksson. She is the first female head coach appointed by UK Athletics.[5][6]

National titles

  • 6 Times AAAs National Champion - 100 metres (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1995) 200 metres (1989)
  • 5 Times UK National Champion - 100 metres (1986, 1987, 1988) 200 metres (1987, 1988)
  • 2 Time AAAs Indoor Champion - 60 metres (1987, 1988)

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Great Britain /  England
1986 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, United Kingdom 2nd 100 m 11.21
1st 4 × 100 m 43.39
European Championships Stuttgart, West Germany 7th 100 m 11.25 (wind: +0.8m/s)
5th 4 × 100 m 43.44
1987 European Indoor Championships Lievin, France 6th 60 m 7.28
World Championships Rome, Italy 16th (sf) 100 m 11.59
10th (h) 4 × 100 m 44.21
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 22nd (qf) 100 m 11.37
14th (sf) 200 m 23.14
9th (sf) 4 × 100 m 43.50
1989 European Indoor Championships The Hague, Netherlands 4th 60 m 7.24
European Cup Gateshead, United Kingdom 2nd 100 m 11.24
2nd 200 m 23.45
4th 4 × 100 m
1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand 8th 100 m 11.55
5th 200 m 23.33
2nd 4 × 100 m 44.15
European Indoor Championships Glasgow, United Kingdom 7th (sf) 60 m 7.30
European Championships Split, Yugoslavia 10th (sf) 100 m 11.57 (wind: 0.0m/s)
3rd 4 × 100 m 43.32
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 19th (qf) 100 m 11.51
heats 4 × 100 m 43.43
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 8th 4 × 100 m 43.86
1994 European Cup Birmingham, United Kingdom 2nd 4 × 100 m 43.46
European Championships Helsinki, Finland 10th (sf) 100 m 11.58 (wind: +0.6m/s)
11th (sf) 200 m 23.41 (wind: +1.4m/s)
5th 4 × 100 m 43.63
Commonwealth Games Victoria, Canada 3rd 100 m 11.23
4th 200 m 22.69
3rd 4 × 100 m 43.46
World Cup London, United Kingdom 7th 100 m 11.67
6th 200 m 23.22
8th 4 × 100 m 44.45
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 15th (qf) 100 m 11.33
15th (sf) 200 m 23.03
9th (h) 4 × 100 m 43.90
(#) indicates overall position in qualifying heats (h) quarterfinals (qf) or semifinals (sf)


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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