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UK Athletics coach Eriksson impressed by Lawrence Okoye

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NEW UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson insists he will be searching inside Lawrence Okoye's head as he bids to help him put London 2012 firmly behind him.

Okoye was in with a genuine shout of a podium finish on his Olympic debut at London 2012 this summer, heading to Stratford ranked fourth in the world in the discus.

But, despite matching his world ranking in qualifying, it all unravelled for the 21-year-old and he finished 12th and last in the final, leaving him questioning his future in the sport.

Okoye decided to stick with athletics, shunning a return to rugby, and will be looking to prove to Charles van Commenee's replacement that he made the right choice.

Eriksson is already impressed by what he sees in Okoye, although he admits that talent is only half the fight and that he must win the battle in their mind first and foremost.

"I think we have a lot of great young athletes and coaches on the Olympic side like Lawrence and I think we can do better and better as we continue," said Eriksson, who won the High Performance Coach of the Year award at the recent UK Coaching Awards.

"I think we have a lot of athletes under the age of 23 that we can take from medal contenders to medallists. The ground roots are already there and although it is a big leap I believe that we can do it.

"We have brought in Dr Steve Peters to work on the psychology side of things like he did with British Cycling and he will be important to help us out and prepare for the future because I think we can do much better on the psychology side of things.

"It is something that we have done really well on the Paralympic side of things and I think it is something that we can do more on the Olympic side of things.

"With his help and the coaches we have, we will do all right."

The first real chance that Okoye will have to impress new boss Eriksson will be at next year's World Championships in Moscow.

But it's very clear to Eriksson what he's working towards, with the success of London 2012 still firmly in everyone's mind.

"My new task is a big task, a complex task, but I look forward to it and I think it is going to be great," he added.

"We have some time to work now until the Rio 2016 Olympics and, although it will be hard work, time is on our side.

"So we need not rush things as the big goal is obviously the Olympics and building on our London successes."

Gillette's support of the UK Coaching Awards follows its partnership with sports coach UK earlier this year as part of the 'Great Starts' campaign.

UK Athletics coach Eriksson impressed by Lawrence Okoye


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