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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 17/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman's fastest athlete Barakat al Harthy is confident that his forthcoming training programme with renowned American sprint coach John Smith will bolster his chances of clinching gold at the 2014 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

Korea. The Games will be held from September 19-October 4.

Barakat will train under Smith for the next 12 months, starting this Sunday, as part of the Oman Athletics Association's (OAA) new initiative - the OAA Elite Club. The OAA's programme also focusses on preparing 400m athlete Ahmed al Marjaby for the Asian Games.

According to the schedule chalked out for Barakat, the 25 year old will look to qualify for and compete in a couple of IAAF Diamond League meets and US national championships, while undergoing training under Smith in Los Angeles, US.

Barakat, who won bronze at the last edition of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, told Muscat Daily on Wednesday, ''I am confident of bagging a gold this time. I hope the preparations with John Smith in Los Angeles and then in Europe will help me in my pursuit for an elusive Asian Games gold medal.''

Barakat, whose official career-best time in his favourite 100m event is 10.17s, said the world body, IAAF, is yet to ratify his time of 10.13s that he achieved in UAE during a regional club championship last year.

The 24 year old Marjaby, meanwhile, will train under his former coach Jama Aden in Spain and then Sweden in the build-up to the Incheon Games.

Marjaby's career-best time is 45.84s in the 400m event, which he achieved in the 2011 Arab Games in Doha, Qatar. It had helped him qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

''I always look up to [former Omani athletics legend] Mohammed Amour al Malki for his guidance. I believe I can better his [Asian] record of 44.56s,'' Marjaby said.

''Of course, it will require a lot of hard work and a strict training schedule. I am certain that under Jama Aden, I will be able to win a medal at the Asian Games. I may even be able to break the existing 400m Asian record sometime in the next couple of years.''

Sheikh Saif al Hosni, the OAA chairman who is piloting the project of setting up Barakat and Marjaby for the Asian Games, said, ''As part of our Elite Club programme, we have chalked out exclusive and extensive training schedules for the country's best sprint duo - Barakat and Ahmed. We are confident the programmes for the two athletes will help them achieve laurels for the country.''

Barakat's schedule (camps-/meets): April 20- July 31: Los Angeles, US; August 1-31: Europe; September 1-19: South Korea; September 20-October 4: Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea.

Marjaby's schedule (camps-/meets): April 20-June 30: Barcelona, Spain; July 1-August 31: Stockholm, Sweden; September 1-19: Barcelona; September 20-October 4: Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea.

Coach Smith has a controversial past:

The OAA's decision to send Barakat al Harthy to train under John Smith may raise a few questions as the American had been controversially linked to doping scandals involving former world champions.

Smith had led Maurice Greene to the 100m gold in Sydney, Australia in 2000, but was named in official documents connected to the BALCO drugs scandal that also brought down Dwain Chambers and Marion Jones.

The American coach has repeatedly denied any involvement in doping. Smith now coaches top woman sprinter Carmelita Jeter, who holds the second fastest 100m time after Florence Griffith-Joyn


Muscat Daily

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