It may have been a season of injury frustration for Freddie Curtis, but the Marshall Milton Keynes AC javelin thrower is still making sure to mingle with the very best in the sport.
The 21-year-old has been sidelined since having to undergo major surgery on a troublesome shoulder in the early part of the year.
Curtis is still three months away from a return to throwing but he has been keeping himself busy in other ways, including attending last week’s World Javelin Conference.
Held every two years in the Finnish city of Kuortane the event sees the best throwers and coaches in the business gather for three days of talks and seminars.
And Curtis who, when not injured normally trains in Finland during the winter months, was making sure to take full advantage of the expertise on offer.
“I normally live in Finland for the winter where I train at the Finnish National Training Olympic Centre and come back to the UK for the summer,” said Curtis, who benefits from being a part of the SSE Next Generation programme.
“With my injury I’ve not been able to train. But I’ve been in Finland for the World Javelin Conference.
“All of the top coaches and some of the top athletes come to Finland to discuss the latest techniques, philosophies and training points.
“It’s a good opportunity to learn different things even if they are only small things.
It takes place every two years, Finland is the home of javelin.
“It’s one of the best environments to be in in Finland. It’s a small village where I train, there’s not that city life so you can just focus on training.”
Prior to his injury, Curtis was ranked second overall in the UK for javelin, and top of the under-23 standings, after throwing a massive 72.73m at the Karis Telefon Games in Finland last year.
And while surgery has understandably left the young star frustrated – his last major competition was in July 2015 – Curtis is determined to focus on returning stronger than ever.
“Progress is slow with my injury but it’s about being patient. I’m feeling pretty positive about it and I’m looking forward to next season,” he added.
“It’s been frustrating sitting back and watching my rivals. It’s been difficult to sit back and take it easy.
“I’m not 100 per cent yet, I’m probably 70 per cent. I’m going back gradually. Hopefully I’ll be back throwing in the next three months and then ready to compete for the outdoor season from May.
“I’ve been working a lot on my visualisation skills and planning with my coach. So even though I’ve not been throwing, I’ve still been working on my weaknesses.”
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