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Eye on Worlds

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Eye on Worlds

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LONDON – A ten-month structured training programme tailored to his specific needs is responsible for the slimmer more competitive Ryan Brathwaite who placed fifth in the 110-metre hurdles finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
And once he continues on course, Barbadians can expect big things from him at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
Alwyn Babb, head coach of the athletics team to the Olympic Games, told NATIONSPORT Brathwaite was more focussed and made a bigger effort to return to his ideal body weight.
“A year in track is a long time,” Babb said, of the programme.
“I believe he is on course to break the national record and if he remains healthy he will be a major contender for Worlds next year.”
Four years ago, after Brathwaite reached the semi-finals in Beijing, Babb mapped out a plan for his rise on the world stage in an interview with SUNSPORT.
“The short-term goal is to be very competitive at World Championships, reaching the final and challenging for a medal, and the long-term goal is for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 when he starts his peak for the Olympics.”
The 22-year-old went on to win gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and the IAAF World Athletics Final the following month. He was second at the North America Central America and Caribbean Under-23 Championships in Florida and was a gold medallist at the Central American and Caribbean Games.
But he fell off the wagon. Barbadians were alarmed in 2011 when he arrived home for the National Championships to see how much weight Brathwaite had gained.
“[Two thousand and nine] was a very exciting moment, but after that, when you are on top you get pressured a lot and you are so busy doing stuff for others you have to try to keep the focus and the positive stuff to you.
“It is like you’re really pressured, you can’t think about the main thing and you’re distracted by other stuff,” Brathwaite said, in a recent interview.
Babb said there would be no repeat.
“There were a lot of factors that contributed to that and he has matured a great deal since then.”
At the World Championships in Daegu, Brathwaite lost his title without even reaching the final, out in the heats.
Since then, he has changed coaches and is now with American Dennis Mitchell.
Babb said that was all part of the plan to find a structured programme and a coach who understood him.
Brathwaite opened with his fastest ever of 13.23 seconds, but an Achilles injury struck in London.
He will move on to the European circuit after the Olympic Games. He promised Barbadians he would “regenerate for the World Championships” and is looking to do a personal best performance this season.
His personal best of 13.14 seconds was set in 2009.