Supporting an elite athlete at national championships

Categories: School of Health and Society

A lecturer from the University of Salford will be attending the UK National Indoor Athletics Championships this weekend, supporting one of Great Britain’s top sprinters and previous champion Andy Robertson in a bid to compete at the European Championships.

Andy’s lead performance coach, rehabilitation specialist and programme lead for Sport Rehabilitation at the University of Salford, Mike Carolan, has worked alongside the athlete since 2018, including supporting him during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He explains: "Covid of course caused huge disruption, with so many events cancelled. Fortunately, Andy came out of it in amazing shape. Four seemed to be a special number for us; after coming fourth at the European Indoor Championships (fastest in the UK over 60m), Andy was fourth fastest in the country over 100m and came fourth at the National Outdoor Championships too. Sadly, he was not selected for the Olympic relay team, which was a huge disappointment.

“Part of the team were focused on an appeal over this Olympics selection, but my goal was to help Andy buffer out the noise and harness his focus – a challenging task in the face of such upset. I revamped his winter program focusing both on the quality of his running mechanics but also his physical needs to get him into great shape.”

Mike’s training programme saw great results, with Andy’s performances improving steadily. Mike tells us: “Andy was in the best shape of his career for the 2022 UK National Indoor Athletics Championships, running 6.58 and eventually getting pipped into second place, closely missing out on a fourth national title. He got a call up to the World Indoor Championships where he narrowly missed out on reaching the final.”

But more challenges were just around the corner as Andy was hit by illness, even needing to go into hospital at one stage after a virus developed into glandular fever. The resulting month of recovery cost him a place on the commonwealth and world championship teams. He struggled with post viral fatigue syndrome, which affected the rest of his season.

But Mike is feeling hopeful for the future. “This winter (2022-2023) has seen Andy bounce back to full health and form, running the European Indoor Qualification standard of 6.62 in preparation for this weekend’s National Indoor Championships in Birmingham. We have prepared well and are looking forward to the competition!”

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