Henricho Bruintjies (far right) was controversially left out of Team SA for the world championships. Photo: EPA

JOHANNESBURG – An Olympian in Rio last year, sprinter Henricho Bruintjies’ career seemed to have hit a brick wall when despite meeting the IAAF qualifying standards, he was left behind for the recently completed World Championships in London.

Bruintjies had to look on as fellow sprinters Wayde van Niekerk and Akani Simbine went on to win two medals and end fifth in the 100m final respectively.

But the Western Cape athlete is not quick to throw in the towel when he’s down, and the latest development in his career sees him hooking up with sprint coach Morné Nagel.

A former sprinter himself, Nagel is one of the more knowledgeable sprint coaches around, having mentored SA champion Alyssa Conley to the Rio Olympics last year, and having been there and done that as a 4x100m relay gold medallist for South Africa back in 2001.

The Johannesburg-based coach says he thinks the key to getting Bruintjies to be a sub-10-second athlete once again will be the right support structures.

Henricho Bruintjies has been a SA champion and record holder in the 100m. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

“I’ve spent time with him at the last two South African training camps in Gemona, Italy,” he told Team SA.

“Henricho’s been through some tough times, not injury-wise, but what’s missing is a support system that will work for him.”

Nagel says priority number one will be to get him under the psychological barrier of 10 seconds again.

“I’m also a believer of the 200, so he’ll do some 200m races purely for training purposes. When we have him there, then I’d say sub 9.90 is on the table, but having said that, I’m not somebody who wants to chase times… it must happen by itself.

“Apart from that support system, the athlete obviously needs to click with the coach… if that happens, you’ll see an athlete who regularly runs under 10 seconds.

“I’ve long said that we don’t really have bad coaches. Often it’s just a matter of the athlete and the coach not clicking, and if that’s not happening, the athlete won’t perform.”

Nagel doesn’t see himself as having to go back to basics with Bruintjies. “HB is very talented and we all know that he can sprint. I won’t have to start from scratch with him, but my training techniques are different from other coaches, so he needs to get used to that at first.”

African News Agency (ANA)