Monday 20 May 2019

English looking for 'right fit' as he steps up hunt for coach


Mark English with the Morton Mile Trophy in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
Mark English with the Morton Mile Trophy in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

Cliona Foley

Ireland's rising 800m star Mark English says he won't be making any rash decisions about a new coach and has defended his decision to switch mentors mid-season.

The Donegal athlete's decision to part with long-time Letterkenny AC coach Teresa McDaid a few weeks ago was a big surprise, especially with the European Championships in Zurich coming up in mid-August.

But the 21-year-old showed no immediate ill-effects by finishing second to world record holder and Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha in the Diamond League last weekend with the third fastest run of his burgeoning career.

"I know it's a strange time but you look at football, managers change mid-season all the time," English said at the launch of the 2014 Morton Games yesterday.

"I just felt it was the right time for me to try new things for the summer and it obviously hasn't affected me too much because I ran 1:45 last week."

He once again paid tribute to McDaid and said he is hoping to nail down a new coach within two to three weeks.

He will take some soundings from his agent Nic Bideau (Sonia O'Sullivan's husband). "Athletics is a very small world and all the agents and coaches know each other, but it is my decision," said English.

"A lot of these coaches have great sports science knowledge but it's about finding the right fit for the athlete. Who can I work with best? Who understands me as a person?

"I need to learn how to deal with them, and vice versa, and that's going to take time, as it would be in any relationship."

Running two sub-1:45 times last summer indicated that English is a serious prospect, something he underlined in New York last Saturday. He is part of a very strong Irish team competing in the European Team Championships (formerly the Europa Cup) in Estonia this weekend.

But the toughest race on his immediate itinerary is the 800m at the Morton Games on July 11, which will also feature Ireland's top 1500m man Paul Robinson, as well as Australia's Ryan Gregson and Jamaal James of Trinidad and Tobago.

That meeting, which has attracted over 80 international athletes, has returned to a fan-friendlier Friday night and with only €10 entry (U-16s go free), it should provide a night of great quality and value.

Irish Independent

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