Promising UAE athletes train at Michael Johnson Performance

Jay Asser 14:01 06/08/2016
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The six athletes undertook various exercise regimes in their week-long training programme.

Six athletes from UAE club Ultimate Athletics had the opportunity to learn from one of greatest Olympians of all time when they attended Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) last month.

The group, along with Ultimate Athletics sprint coach David Maris, made the 13,000km trip to Johnson’s home state of Texas for a week-long personalised training programme designed to get them performing at their best in their respective events.

The six athletes, who compete in a mixture of 100m to 400m, hurdles and rugby, were: Jiya Deepak (13), Darius Rameshni (15), Justine Todd (15), Lucas Munday (15), Charles Marelid (16) and 18-year-old Sarah Ellis. Each day at MJP, the athletes began by hitting the warm up circuit before transitioning to exercises like functional movement, linear acceleration, horizontal/vertical power, linear/max velocity and speed school.

After cooling down and refuelling with lunch, they again began with a warm up circuit, this time followed by analysis to serve as an educational period for the athletes to work on their movements.

Maris felt the camp built a strong foundation for the athletes to continue building upon.

He said: “There was nothing extraordinary there – there are no magic bullets when it comes to training – but there was a continual and solid application of the fundamental principles, which is in line with my philosophy as a coach.”

The trip was organised by Ultimate Athletics founder Lisa Campbell, who met Michael Johnson in March when the American former sprinter was in Dubai.

With the summer heat taking over and few indoor facilities in the emirate, Campbell had the idea to send a group to the camp to gain valuable experience – and the athletes took full advantage.

“I got to know myself as a sprinter and an overall athlete better, which is something you can’t achieve doing reps on a track,” said Todd.

Rameshni added: “Their ability to utilise technology to identify key areas for improvement in athletes is amazing.”

Deepak, meanwhile, received specific coaching tips such as leaning forward when running and working on her balance.

Though the athletes didn’t work directly with Johnson himself, Marelid had the pleasure of meeting the four-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder in the 400m, making the long-distance trip even more worthwhile.

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