|Representing Great Britain|
|4x100 m relay|
|4x100 m relay|
|4x100 m relay|
|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.
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 AAAs National 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. 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. 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. As of 2017, Dunn ranks eighth on the UK all-time list at 100 metres and 10th at 200 metres.
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.
|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|
|4th||4 × 100 m|
|1990||Commonwealth Games||Auckland, New Zealand||8th||100 m||11.55|
|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|
|3rd||4 × 100 m||43.46|
|World Cup||London, United Kingdom||7th||100 m||11.67|
|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)|