Recently retired London Olympian Abdul Buhari says there is no lack of throws talent in Britain, simply not enough top-level coaches
The throws have historically been a weaker discipline for Britain, but London Olympian Abdul Buhari believes it is not a question of a lack of talent.
The 31-year-old, who is Britain’s fourth best-ever discus thrower, announced his retirement from the sport last month after struggling to recover from an operation for a foot injury.
He is now keen to pass on his knowledge from two decades in the sport and help to improve British athletics, having himself reached the World Championships and Olympics in two consecutive years, making his breakthrough in the year of the Daegu World Championships, winning the UK trial and throwing a PB of 65.44m.
“I think I have some valuable skills to contribute, whether it’s to British Athletics, Surrey athletics or just my local club, I don’t mind – I just want to be involved,” he told AW.
And he believes there’s no shortage of talented throws athletes in this country.
Having been his best in a year that he, Lawrence Okoye, Brett Morse and Carl Myerscough were all in the top 30 in the world, he said: “Lawrence (Okoye, UK record-holder at 20 in 2012) is a perfectly good example that we have the talent. What we lack and have always lacked in the throws is that we don’t have enough coaches at that level.
“And every coach has a different school of thought. It’s not like running where technically it’s very similar. We need coaches who are not skewed by their own personal thoughts as opposed to what’s best for the athletes.”
He added that the attraction of football, rugby and other better- paying sports was pulling the talent elsewhere. Okoye is a case in point as the multi-talented Olympic finalist has been signed to the San Francisco 49ers to play American football, having left discus – for now at least.
With Myerscough also out of action last year, Morse was the only British athlete over 60m, which leaves Buhari concerned.
“That’s not to say there aren’t any talented distance throwers in the country,” he said. “But I just think it’s the work needed to be at that level. I didn’t understand the work needed until I had to do it.
“I think it’s important that I give back and communicate to any aspiring thrower or any athlete that what you see on TV and what you see out on the track and field is as a result of hard work, dedication and commitment.
“If you want to be the best you’ve got to be around the best all the time,” added the athlete who was introduced to the sport by Stan Allen, the much respected Surrey coach who died recently, and went on to be coached by John Hillier. “You don’t want to be out there by yourself… I feel honoured to have been involved in something like that.”