Fired-up Fourie | SASCOC - SASCOC

Fired-up Fourie

Our top 110-metre hurdler, Lehann Fourie will line up in Hengelo, Holland on Sunday with a new coach and new lease of life, writes Mark Etheridge.

Fourie, who’s best for the event is the 13.44 seconds he ran in Columbia, US last year, has been based largely in the States in recent years. But he decided to break with tradition over the festive season and spent a few months in Pretoria, competing in some of the Yellow Pages events.

Fourie, who recently qualified and has a degree in finance, said he was considering retiring a short while ago and wasn’t going to return to the states. But a nagging doubt that he hadn’t yet reached is full potential has seen him back on the track.

The 24-year-old told Road to London 2012: “I was talking to my family and actually considered stopping athletics because I’ve earned my degree and can now make a living if I start working, unlike the current situation in athletics where it’s hard to make money. But we came to the conclusion that I haven’t reached my full potential yet and I can’t stop unless I feel I’ve given it my all. So I’ve made this investment and sacrifice to come back to the US for a few years to see what I can achieve.”

Fourie has also undergone a coaching shift. Originally based in Nebraska he’s now moved down to South Carolina. “I’ve done a lost of shifting and moving around in the past month, from SA to Nebraska and now to South Carolina. I was also going to go to Orlando, Florida to train in January but then opted to go back to Pretoria.”

Fourie paid tribute to Pretoria based coach, Jaun Strydom. “He helped me a lot in SA and is a good coach but I really feel I’m in the right place now to help me prepare for Worlds and Olympics.” His new coach is Sylvanues Hepburn. For those who don’t know him the Bahama coach is a former Olympic sprinter himself.

More importantly he coached Allan Johnson from 2003 to retirement. “Allan is a multiple world and Olympic champion. He’s still around here and helps me with a few drills every now and then. Also here is Fred Townsend who has run a 13.42 this year and I’ll be working more with him later in the season.”

Summing up Fourie reckons he’s made the right choice. “I’m getting into debt but I hope the investment pays of! In the past few weeks the coach have helped more than any other coach my whole life so, so far it seems like a good move! As for Sunday’s race I have no idea what shape I’m in but it’s a good field and I’ll always run hard every race.”

Also in action at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games will be 2010 SA 800m champion Mapaseka Makhanya, who goes off in the 1500m while fellow South African Juanee Cilliers will do pace-making duties in the 800m.