Smith to train Anju

John Smith has so far only managed Anju Bobby George's career, now he is going to manage the task of helping her to an Olympic medal.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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John Smith, a former Olympian and world famous sprinting coach, will now train Indian long jumper Anju Bobby George. The two have worked together before since Anju is a part of Smith's sports management company HSI. And thanks to that association, he is been keeping an eye on her career graph. So, it is no small matter that the coach has the highest regard for Anju as an athlete and full belief in her capabilities. "She is a competitor. You don't see her a lot because she trains hard and she does it the right way. She competes very well, I have watched here compete over the years. When I call her she shows up and she can jump further," said Smith. The last time Anju trained under a foreign coach, long jump world record holder Mike Powell, she performed with the world's best in Europe and then produced a career best 6.83 metre at the Athens Olympics. Eyeing the Gold This time, the aim is not just to improve on that, but also to go past the seven metre mark. "I am still practising but I'm not getting the timing right, one day it will come," said Anju. Her husband and coach Bobby George explained further, "Its not about seven metres, its about jumping seven metres in the right time. This year she took a break because of injury and she lost her momentum. She has been at it for more than 14 months." At 29 years, Anju's journey to Beijing may not be all that easy but coach Smith, for one, has no doubts his charge will take charge in 2008. "It's just a matter of time. I am not the one who would tell you I can't. I don't that is not in my vernacular. I say you do, you will, and go do it," he added. Another Olympic campaign, another foreign coach and given the talent that Anju possesses, it may just take Smith's experience, expertise and optimism to help push her over every barrier that has kept her away from an Olympic medal so far.