UK record-holder Montell Douglas moves to the States to be coached by Maurice Greene
Since linking up with former world record-holder Maurice Greene, Montell Douglas says she is over the worst of the injuries that have stalled her career for the past three years.
The former European under23 silver medallist broke the long-standing British 100m record in 2008 with 11.05, but a succession of injuries has meant that she has been unable to replicate that performance. Since that year, Douglas has broken 11.4 just once.
The 26-year-old had been with coach Ayo Falola for nine years, but had been part of a group that mainly comprised 400m and 800m runners.
“With this being Olympic year, it was really a make-or-break decision for me,” Douglas told AW. “I’ve really struggled to get back and I felt like I’m losing faith in myself, people were losing faith in me, and I’ve had four years of back-to-back injuries. I had nothing to lose.”
The parting from Falola has been an amicable one, says Douglas. “I love him to death. I grew up with him and he was like my second dad. He was cool with me moving on. We had a nice chat just the other week to clear things. I told him that I had to be with sprinters and had to be in the warmth and he was okay with that.”
Earlier this year Douglas spent four months in Westlake Village in north Los Angeles training with Greene. The former world and Olympic champion is new to coaching, but the group also includes the Barber twins (Me’Lisa and Mikele), double European bronze medallist Martial Mbandjock, and 11.19 sprinter Kenyanna Wilson.
“He’s new to coaching but he’s just like he was as an athlete,” said Douglas of her new coach. “He’s strict with us, and he knows all the tricks so there’s no hiding. But he understands you and he takes time with each one of us. It’s really nice to be with sprinters instead of 400m and 800m runners. That really makes a difference.”
Douglas, who earlier this month won the BUCS 100m title in 11.81, says that she also feels less injury-prone than she was before and is now aiming a top-two finish at the Olympic Trials.
“I think I’m definitely over the worst of my injuries now,” she said. “My main aim now is to get the qualifying time, beat some people along the way hopefully, and then do well at the Trials.”