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T&T athletes to get elite training with US sprint icon (with CNC3 video)
T&T Olympians Jehue Gordon and Njisane Phillips and Paralympic swimmer Shanntol Ince are set to receive elite training at the Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) training Centres.
The trio will benefit following a partnership deal with the programme run by Olympic legend Michael Johnson (USA), BPTT, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the T&T Paralympic Committee (TTPC). The arrangements were announced at a press conference at the Trinidad Hilton yesterday.
Johnson said that the aim behind the programme was to provide athletes with the opportunities he had as a competitor.
“We want to assist every athlete to be the best they can be, at whatever level that might be. Every athlete would not be elite. Every athlete would not win a gold medal. That was really the impetus behind me forming MJP after my own career.
“People ask me ‘what are you most proud of in my career-gold medal or world record?’ I am most proud of the consistency and longevity of my career. When I finished my career in 2000, I was still ranked number one in the world. I was ready to retire at that point because I was fortunate to achieve all of the goals that I set myself as an athlete. That, at the end of the day, is what Michael Johnson Performance is all about.”
The four-time Olympic champion and the holder of eight World Outdoor gold medals added that the training regime is not just limited to track and field competitors.
“We work with athletes across all sports to develop true athleticism, the core of what any athlete need to be successful. We work with athletes in American football, global football, Manchester United, Arsenal, Dallas Cowboys, ice hockey teams, ballet dancers, gymnasts, golfers. We help these athletes to improve speed, strength, power and agility.”
The world 400m record holder (43.18) said the Trinidad and Tobago launch was the first in the Caribbean of his initiative. “We have been fortunate to expand this programme outside of the USA, into the UK and Africa. This the first introduction in the Caribbean. We believe (our programme) is an effective training methodology and training programme to help athletes achieve their best. I look forward to getting to know the athletes. We will be coming in the next year to find out the sporting objective and goal in this country and improve on excellence of T&T athletes over the years.”
The former 200m outdoor and 400m indoor record holder said the recent success of Caribbean athletes was in the making as many are being trained by regional-based coaches.
“I am not surprised. In the 1990’s when I competed for Baylor (University) I ran regularly against Caribbean athletes and they gave me a hard time, weekend after weekend. They are a very good talent. All of the coaches were coming to the Caribbean to recruit athletes. The problem was many of these athletes were not able to make the transition from great collegiate to professional athletes. I believe what has happened over the last couple years is that Caribbean athletes and coaches have figured it out.” Johnson credits the rise in performance to education of regional coaches.
“There has been investment in coaching and education programs that have allowed coaches to (be) at home in the Caribbean and coach their athletes. When you invest in coaches at home, athletes thrive. When you invest in facilities and expertise, you teach athletes at home how to succeed.
“It was not all of a sudden. It has always been there. It has now been developed in a more effective way.”
Johnson arrived in T&T on Tuesday night with MJP coach Lance Walker. Later today, Johnson will have clinics with locals coaches and athletes before returning to the US.
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