December 28, 2018 / 4:13 PM / in a month

Athletics: Sprinter De Grasse switches coaches, now trains in Florida

(Reuters) - Triple Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse has selected well-known trainer Rana Reider as his new coach and moved to Florida where the Canadian is working to rekindle his sprinting career.

FILE PHOTO: Sprinter Andre De Grasse of Canada at Stockholm Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden - June 18, 2017. TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund

“The focus is completely on Doha with the aim on getting to the podium in both the 100m and 200m,” De Grasse, in an email to Reuters, said of his goals for the 2019 world championships.

His past two seasons curtailed by injuries while training in Arizona, the 24-year-old said he made the switch after learning the highly respected Reider was returning to the United States.

The versatile coach, an American, had been working in the Netherlands for several years, mentoring a cast of world class athletes including U.S. two-time Olympic triple jump gold medalist Christian Taylor and Dutch 200m world champion Dafne Schippers.

Previously the 48-year-old Reider worked as a national coach with British sprinters after an extended U.S. collegiate career.

“I have been acquainted with Rana over the years and when I heard he was making the move back to the States, my manager reached out and set up a meeting,” De Grasse said.

Now based in Jacksonville, Florida, the sprinter trains at the University of North Florida with Reider’s group.

“It has only been a few weeks so far but I feel really good about the training and the direction we are moving,” De Grasse said.

His silver medal in the 200m and bronzes in the 100m and 4x100m relay for Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics had led many to believe he would become one of the next sprint stars.

But a hamstring injury in practice knocked him out of the 2017 world championships. Then, as he recovered, mononucleosis slowed his 2018 return with another hamstring injury, this time in the 200m at the Canadian championships, ending a second consecutive season.

He has not competed since the latest mishap in early July.

Meanwhile, Americans Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles and Ronnie Baker have moved to the forefront of global sprinting along with world 100m champion Justin Gatlin.

It is a scenario De Grasse and his coach hope to change as the world’s best move toward Doha and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“I feel 100 percent completely healed and ready to go,” said De Grasse, who plans to skip the 2019 indoor season and likely will start his year with some relay races in April.

Reider shares his optimism.

“Andre is pure talent,” the coach said. “He has a lot of untapped potential.

“With a lot of hard work and focus, I see no reason why he won’t be one of the top sprinters in the world.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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