Thursday, 28 June 2012


Trackspeed1 coach John Powell has had an amazing 2012 already by any measure - and there's still almost half the athletics season still remaining!  And this week he paid tribute to the people who have so far made it his year of years.

It all started back in February when his wife gave birth to Jasmine, his second daughter but first with wife Chanphen.  Weighing in at 7lb 5oz it marked the opening of a whole new chapter in John's life.  But what a chapter it was to be.

As the tracks and field season emerged from the cold of winter, he took his squad of largely short sprinters to their annual pre-season training camp in Orlando, Florida.  A solid training programme then began to give rise to some very special performances.

"I try my best to ensure my athletes don't peak too early," explained John, "so any early season performances I always put into the perspective of the sort of training we have been doing.  But this year I had to pinch myself."

In the first two meetings of the year, pretty much the whole group set lifetime bests in the short sprints while still at their training base in the States.

"I wasn't overly worried at all, because I knew people were nowhere near their best having done what we had in training, and I slowly began to really relish the meets nearer home that would make or break some people's seasons," he continued.

This website records the achievements since which make awesome reading, culminating in John's long-held dream of getting James Ellington to an Olympic Games.  His win at the olympic Trials at the weekend just gone was described by John as the best moment he has ever experienced as a coach of 36 years.

"That's no disrespect to anyone else in the squad," added John.  "I have taken huge pleasure from seeing virtually everyone improve this season - it's been fantastic.  He then reflects on some of the individuals who have together made 2012 so memorable already.

Edmond Amaning spent most of 2011 on the physio' table with hamstring problems, but he's made up for it in 2012.  He's improved from 21.9 over 200 metres to 21.13, and earned a call-up this week to the British Junior team travelling to Barcelona for the World Junior Championships.  He was named in the relay squad having missed out on the 200m qualifying time by 0.03 seconds!

David Bolarinwa held onto his under-20 British 100m title, and improved his 200m from over 21 seconds to 21.69 this year, and promised to go even faster in the later stages of the season, including Barcelona.  And Kieran Daly improved his 100m time from 10.82 to 10.58 in one crazy afternoon at Bedford recently.
Omardo Anson has already set lifetime bests this year
Then you have to consider Omardo Anson, one of the athletes who featured in the recently published documentary, "Personal Best", who improved to 11.03 over 100m and equalled his 22.34s 200m best.  Fellow senior Jason Hussain enjoyed a wind-assisted 21.2s run in the County Championships, but immediately attracted the assertion from Powell that he is without doubt a sub-21s athlete on his day.  And don;t forget Melvyn Anukam as another of the TS1 family who have smashed sprint bests in 2012.

One of the newer members of the group PB's within days of beginning training at Crystal Palace -- Joel Harvey clocked 21.74s over 200m, while newest member Julian Thomas arrived from his long-term Midlands base with former coach Tony Hadley, in PB form having already recorded 20.88s this year.

"Julian was a fantastic addition to the group and having decided to move south we were delighted he chose to join us," said John, "and as I have said before, I can only pay tribute to the awesome job Tony did with Julian over many years.

So now Trackspeed1 boast an under-20 national champion (David Bolarinwa), England Senior Champion (Edmond Amaning) and British Senior Champion in James Ellington.  And with the season having several weeks to go yet, who knows what else could be around the corner.  Joel Harvey contests the English Schools U17 200m next week, so he could make it a complete clean sweep of 200m titles for Trackspeed1 in one season!

For Powell, it's Barcelona in 2 weeks' time for the World Juniors, the after a week at home with his now almost 5-month-old daughter, its 8 days in Portugal with James Ellington at the pre-Olympics camp with the rest of the British team.  After that it's the biggest show on earth in London!

"I can barely get my head around how great this year has been so far," enthused John.  "I was so emotional at the Olympic Trials when James won the 200m - that was the culmination of so many ups and downs over how many years, I shudder to think!  It meant the world to see him clinch gold on Sunday evening."
James Ellington, first coached by John Powell in 1999,
 will compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games
Before all that gets under way though, Powell will proudly lift the Olympic Torch somewhere in the London Borough of Bromley on Monday 23rd July.  "That was a big shock when I heard I had been nominated, let alone listed as one of the bearers," he said, "but it will be an amazing experience."

Trackspeed1 will be involved in all sorts of domestic as well as international competitions during July and August before a well-earned break in September.  James Ellington will head the group with appearances at Crystal Palace on - probably - both Friday and Saturday 13/14th July.

"The end of the season sees my family travel to Thailand to introduce Jasmine to her Grandmother for the first time, and that will be awesome," he said.  "But first there's no reason why this season shouldn't really rock with the group getting yet more PB's and titles.

"And of course there's that little event in East London that might throw up a performance or two!"

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