Smyth to continue training in Florida with Brauman group

Wednesday, 24 October 2012
By Tom Degun

Jason SmythOctober 23 - Irish sprint star Jason Smyth, who claimed two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is set to continue with his training base in Florida under Lance Brauman despite his long-time coach Stephen Maguire joining up with Scottish Athletics.

The 25-year-old visually impaired athlete set the London Olympic Stadium alight at the Paralympics as he claimed golds in the T13 100 and 200 metres, both in world record times, to exactly replicate the feat he achieved at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics four years earlier.

Smyth, who just missed out on qualifying for the Olympics, has steadily improved since basing himself in Florida in the Brauman training group, which also includes sprinter Tyson Gay, who won an Olympic silver medal in the American 4x100m relay at London 2012.

But despite uncertainty as to whether Smyth would follow Maguire to Scotland, Maguire held discussions with Brauman to smooth the way for the sprinter to remain at the Florida base.

It comes after Maguire worked as part of Brauman's coaching team at the National Training Centre in Clermont over the last few years and built up a close relationship with the American.

"It has been sorted out and I'm looking forward to getting back," said Smyth.

"I talked with Lance myself last week as well and it was always the ideal scenario for me that I would remain with his group.

"I'm working with great athletes, the weather is good and I've made steady improvements during my time there.

"I felt I worked well there again over the last year even though, for whatever reason, I wasn't quite able to show that in my times and make the Olympics.

"I know I'm fortunate to be able to train with such a group because normally sprinters with a best time of 10.20 seconds would not get to work with such elite athletes."

Smyth's decision comes following a holiday in Utah over the past two weeks.

He will return there in December to marry his American girlfriend Elise.

Jason Smyth_2Jason Smyth hopes that his exploits at the London 2012 Paralympics will be able to attract more sponsors

Prior to that, a stint at home in Ireland will be followed by six weeks of training in Florida before the wedding.

"I'll be on my own for six weeks in Florida before Elise joins me there after the wedding but things will be okay as the other athletes should be able to help out if I need a lift to training or something like that," he said.

Smyth's profile was raised significantly by his exploits at the London 2012 Paralympics and he is continuing to hold out hope that he will be able to attract new sponsors as his principal source of income is currently a £32,000 ($51,230/€30,600) annual grant from the Irish Sports Council.

"I have spoken to a few agents and other people but no other significant support has come through yet," added Smyth.

"For it to be sustainable through to Rio I will need more backing but hopefully it will come and I will be able to keep on producing at both Paralympic and mainstream level."

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz
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