Potch is javelin mecca for international athletes

Sanni Utriainen and her coach and father, Esa Utriainen. Photo: Wouter Pienaar
Sanni Utriainen and her coach and father, Esa Utriainen. Photo: Wouter Pienaar

Finnish javelin excellence can be found in the heart of Potchefstroom this summer with the experienced javelin coach, Esa Utriainen, getting the best out of his international athletes as they prepare for the European Athletics season.

Utriainen, who is the current Qatar javelin coach, was an accomplished javelin thrower himself as the Finnish Champion in 1979 and has been a mainstay in coaching since 1985. He has coached in Finland and was the head coach of the Great Britain javelin team from 2009 to 2012.
In 2015, he shifted his attention to the Middle East nation of Qatar and is currently training Ahmed Magour and Mohamed Kaida, two talented Qatari athletes.

‘Our main aim here is to prepare these athletes for the European athletics summer. Javelin is currently extremely competitive in the men’s section, with 13 athletes hitting the 83-metre mark in the World Championships last year. Ahmed came 10th in that final, which was a good result,’ he added.

‘I first came to Potchefstroom in 2014 and have been training athletes here ever since. The facilities are excellent and I had previously heard fantastic things about Potch. I think it is the mecca for training during our winter,’ he added enthusiastically.

Utriainen’s daughter, Sanni, has also joined him in Potchefstroom and the father-daughter coaching combination seems to work well for this javelin duo. Sanni is a former Junior World Champion in Javelin, having won the title in 2010.

‘It is a bit more challenging to coach your daughter but we have a good relationship and understanding. I have coached her since the age of nine,’ said Utriainen.
The experienced coach also explains that javelin is a sport that is constantly evolving from the javelin itself to the techniques used and training methods.
‘When throwing a javelin, it all depends on the feel. It just has to feel right and every javelin athlete will know what works best for them.’



Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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