Pole Lucasz is wearing his England badge with pride
Coach Unlimited’s international athletics coach Lucasz Zawila has got used to the same old question over and over again.
“What does it feel like to be a proud Pole coaching British athletes and wearing training kit with the England emblem on it?”
He always smiles when he answers it and the answer is always the same.
“My dream was always to be a very good coach at international level. It doesn’t matter which country that is for,” says Lucasz.
“I have worked with international athletes before so it was not anything new for me. I just see it as exciting that I can represent England.
“My heart will always be with the Polish team but I am 100 per cent behind the athlete I am working with. It doesn’t matter to me where they are from.”
An athlete and coach in Poland for 15 years, he started working with Loughborough University when he came to England.
Lucasz is the first to admit that his heart will always be in Poland but that will not stop him getting right behind the athletes he is currently guiding to success on the international stage.
Two in particular are currently attracting attention.
Reynold Banigo is a 20-year-old English long jumper, while Henry Clarkson is a 19-year-old Scottish triple-jumper.
He met both men at Loughborough University and he has been putting them through their paces since 2017.
While Reynold is a long-jumper, Henry took Lucasz’s advice recently to change his chosen discipline.
“Henry was more of a long jumper but I told him that I saw him a lot more as a triple jumper and thought he would achieve a lot more in that discipline,” said Lucasz. “I put that to him, told him to go away and think about it and he came back and agreed to do it.
“I know how good he can be if he keeps working hard and improves every year.
“It’s actually a pleasure working with both of them and I see a bright future for them.”
He’s not wrong.
Reynold jumped 7.77m at the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham this month after several first-placed finishes at meets last year.
Henry, meanwhile, has only just jumped a stunning personal best of 15.75m in Glasgow.
“They are like a family to me and I am also like a mentor to them in terms of both their sporting aims and their mental approach to things. It’s great fun to do what I do.”
The Sports and Activities coach is an integral part of the Coach Unlimited team too and director Teresa Hames is proud that that is the case.
“Lucasz is a fantastic member of the CoachUnlimited team. He is energetic, enthusiastic and has a great sense of humour. The children he coaches all think he is fabulous, because of his fun approach. They love learning from someone with so much personal knowledge and experience too. We are immensely proud of Lucasz’s achievements with his British athletes, and look forward to seeing more success stories from him.”
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