In his own words. Ed
Well… What a month! At the beginning of April, I departed from Heathrow airport to sunny California for a month long training camp, and believe me, because of my vigorous programme throwing and lifting in the gym I didn’t come back with a tan!
I had a few competitions lined up during my stay, so I could gauge how my training was progressing through my throws too, and that was quite an experience in itself!
After a 13 hour flight to Los Angeles and a very long wait picking up the hire car, my mum and I made our way to our hotel at Long Beach. I’d already made plans to meet up with 1996 Olympian shot putter Shaun Pickering for training before meeting up with the rest of the training group in a week’s time.
Shaun, a classy thrower of over 20 metres and a man with bucket loads of experience, so I knew my sessions would be good.
Training alongside Olympians
After a couple of days active rest, I met up with Shaun at a Huntington High School to train next to another Olympian and Dutch record holder, Rutger Smith! Smith recovery from a foot surgery, looked well on his way back to form, and it was just great training beside such an amazing athlete.
I also used the school’s gym to train. What facilities for a school! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a school in Britain with half of its amenities.
Group training in San Diego
A week went by and it was time to say goodbye to Long Beach and the new friends we made, to head down to San Diego, Chula vista to meet up with my training group. You may remember my coach is from Sweden and so all the group apart from Mart Israel (he is from Estonia) is Swedish. We also had Britain’s number one thrower, Jade Lally, joining us for the duration too.
Training grounds came in the form of The American training Centre in Chula Vista. Literally right on the Mexican border. There were signs everywhere on the motorways to be aware of people fleeing across the freeway, and the sky never had a patrol helicopter.
The grounds were brilliant, the usual track facilities however, with row upon row of throwing cages! Thrower’s heaven!
The gym in a hanger-like building had all the equipment possible … I was going to like my stay here! I trained twice a day and studied the rest of the time (hence no tan), even up to the competitions, I continued as if I wasn’t competing.
Heroic start to the competitions
My first competition was at Mount Sac, Walnut California and I threw a massive PB of 58 metres to place me number one as an under 23 and number three as a senior. I was so pleased, but couldn’t enjoy the moment too long, as it was back to full on training next day.
The next competition at Olympic Centre was a disaster with three no marks … I threw well and far, but couldn’t stay in the circle or sector. I had to shake that day off quick as I had another competition the next day at Triton Invitational at University of California (UC) San Diego, winning the competition and increasing my PB by one centimetre.
Reunion at last comp
This is where I met up with a few old friends from around the world.. in particular Julian Wruck and Mitch Cooper from Australia, Jamaican Chad Wright and Briton Carl Myoscough who lives in California to name a few.
My last competition I competed in was at UC Irvine and there was where my fellow team mate Daniel Stahl threw the world lead at the time. It was amazing to be part of a special occasion, and we all went out for a great meal to celebrate both, the world lead and a very successful training camp.
A few days after my return (last week) I took the first of my exams. Back to reality! And always good to come home.