Denmark's three-time individual world champion Nicki Pedersen was appointed as the new national coach in speedway on Tuesday morning.
DMU announces this in a press release, where, however, nothing is stated about a possible assistant coach, or whether Nicki Pedersen is thereby ending his active career.
By Ib Søby
Nicki Pedersen states in the announcement:
- I myself have worked my way up through the ranks and tried my hand at pretty much everything within the sport at the highest level. I will now be able to pass on those experiences to the next generation and help them navigate their career and development.
Nicki Pedersen makes no secret of the fact that Denmark currently has some extremely talented drivers in the elite and youth ranks. There is huge potential, but it is not enough if Denmark is to progress even further in speedway sport.
- The drivers must have the ambition and the will to reach the top. It is one of the most important things to stick to as a national team driver. As a national coach, I must be able to feel that they are pursuing their own ambitions, and with that in place I can both coach them as best as possible and push them further, says Nicki Pedersen.
For Denmark's Motor Union, it has been important to land an agreement with a large and significant profile, in the hope of attracting more talent:
- Today we are down to only 350 active speedway drivers in Denmark. This of course makes speedway's contribution to Denmark's Motor Union modest, where the talent pool is small, the volunteers are too few and tracks close rather than new ones open. That is why we are also working to bring about a new era of greatness in the sport, says Jørgen Bitsch, who is chairman of Denmark's Motor Union.
- Our dominance in the 1980s was secured through fantastic, well-organized youth work with many active members and a definite talent factory. We need to get back to that, also with help from, among others, our youth coach Erik Gundersen. And Nicki Pedersen is also a media darling who can attract young talent with the opportunity to be guided by the former world champion.
Danish national coaches in speedway
Before 1991, when DMU and Team Denmark created a national coaching position, voluntary and unpaid team managers were used, who took care of the practicalities surrounding the national teams' participation in international tournaments, just as DMU also sent a representative out for individual tasks.
It has, among other things, been Willy Nielsen, Jørgen Dorcheus, Oluf Frimodt Pedersen, Ole Olsen, Jørgen Jensen, Hardy Jensen, Kjeld Lund.
1991 – 2001 Erik Gundersen
2002 – 2005 Jacob Olsen
2005 – 2010 Jan Stæchmann
2010 – 2016 Anders Secher
2016 – 2022 Hans Nielsen and Henrik Møller