By Mike Rowbottom

craig_hunter_17-06-11June 17 - Craig Hunter, who has stepped down from managing Team GB's Olympic preparation camp in Loughborough, has told insidethegames of his "enormous disappointment" at leaving a role which will now be carried out by Mike Hay, who coached Rhona Martin and her team to Olympic curling gold at the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

Hunter, who excelled in his role as Chef de Mission to the English team at last October's problematic Commonwealth Games in Delhi, has also stepped down from the Team GB delegation leadership team, headed by British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt,

The former swimmer refused to be drawn on whether his decision had been prompted by any clash of personality, although he denied that it had been any kind of a "knee-jerk reaction."

He told insidethegames: "Over a period of time I decided it wasn't going to work for me.

"I decided it was a good time to move on and do other things.

"It was a decision that wasn't easy to make, and took some time to formulate.

"It certainly wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to anything specific.

"It is enormously disappointing not to be working at probably the most exciting sports event we will experience in my lifetime.

"I had some discussion with Andy Hunt about my continuing in the role, but my mind was fairly made up, albeit that it was a difficult decision.

"Mike Hay has taken over my role and he will now move forward on the plans - they will be developed and refined."

Hunter, who will still perform his role this summer as Chef de Mission for the European Youth Olympic Festival, added: "I said to Andy that if there was anything I could do to help with other aspects of the BOA operation I would be happy to do so."

Original plans for a preparation camp in Aldershot were scrapped and many sports have elected to make their final adjustments for the Games away from the Team GB managed multi-sport environment, with British Swimming basing themselves in Edinburgh and UK Athletics expected to tune up outside of the UK to avoid media attention.

But a smaller scale camp in Loughborough is designed to give others the chance to prepare, especially given the large number of the 500 strong team that are expected to be making their Olympic debuts, and Hunter had been tasked with planning.

"I would like to thank Craig for his detailed and diligent work in developing the preparation camp strategy and look forward to continuing to work with him in his role as Chef de Mission for the European Youth Olympic Festival," said Hunt.

Hay managed the preparation camp in Calgary ahead of last year's Winter Olympics and was also part of the team based in the holding camp in Macau before the Beijing Games.

"From my time as head of high performance at curling I am only too aware of the importance of creating the right environment to enable athletes to focus and prepare themselves, both mentally and physically, in the crucial final weeks leading up to an Olympic Games," he said.

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