Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Larry Achike (May 2011)

Onochie Lawrence Achike, was born in Islington on the 31st of January 1975 but is known by all in athletics as Larry Achike. He is now well into his thirties and has a breadth of experience as a triple jumper, having done 16.49 in 1993 and 16.67 for the event in 2010.
   The one thing I noticed about the engaging and friendly man, was his youthful enthusiasm for coaching and jumping still. He is a great supporter and helper at the Willesden Track Academy, which gives so much help and opportunities   to young people that belong to it. " There were no less than 26 of those competing in the County Championships at Mile End Stadium to-day' he remarked and added ' It is encouraging to see them do well'.
As we talked he watched avidly someone he coaches, Hannah Frankson, who took the Middlesex senior triple title with 13'11. Frankson is at Brunel University where Larry coaches the triple and long jump events.He is also Development Officer for West London, as well as bing a family man.
   How did it all begin for Larry Achike, who  unfortunately had his career often interrupted with injuries, . He triple jumped 13' '71 as an Under 15 but athletics was not his  only sporting interest.
   ' It all started with my PE teacher but I played a lot of rugby. It just got to the point that I had to make a decision, as I won the World Juniors (16.67 we 2.24 on the 24/7/94). It  kind of made the decision for me. If I am No 1 in the World surely I can pursue that as a senior so, athletics we the way forwards'
   Looking back at his performances that he felt gave him great pleasure
    ' The Olympics in Sydney in 2006 .(He did 17.29 for fifth in the final. The winner Jonathan Edwards 17.71).'It is still my personal best. The Olympic competition in Beijing that was very tough out there. The standard and the fact I made the cut in that competition. I was really happy with that (7th in the Final with 17.17). Also Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and winning the Commonwealth Gold 1 Onochie Lawrence Achike (GB) 17.10, Andrew Owusu (Ghana) 17.03, 3 Remmy LImo (Kenya) 16.89 and 4 Julian Golley (GB) 16.83).
   On the 14th of May 2011, Larry said to me he would compete for another year before going into his other pursuits and he pointed out ' I love coaching so it is pretty much taken a lot of my time.  I coach Nathan Fox, an Under 23. He did 15' 85 at Eton,  I think he will go under 16' 00 for the triple this year. I feel the coaching is going in the right direction'
   Larry Achike has made many friends in the athletics World since he stated and they have made a big impact on his life " Without a doubt. It is funny when you watch guys on TV doing massive things and you end up competing against them a couple of years down the line. You speek to them and they give you loads of information. I have worked with some great coaches as well'
   'My coach FRANK ATTOH has been  with me for 18 years, that has helped a lot. I have done a bit of work with Tony Lester speedwise and bit with Keith Conner the British Olympian. I am very lucky to have so much knowledge from quality sources. I still work with Frank Attoh for the 19th year. That relationship has lasted a long time!!'
   'Frank's philosophy has not changed from day one. Hard work, determination, focus that he instils in all the youngsters.'
   ' Greg Rutherford, when he broke the British long jump record, was under Frank Attoh. Then there is a training partner of mine Chris Tomlinson. Tricia-Kaye Smith and Yamil Aldama are two more he coaches  I feel lucky I am still training with him. He has done wonders over the years."

Alastair Aitken

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