Browning in top shape heading into Olympic year

John Salvado |

Rohan Browning (centre) has long been the standard-bearer for sprinting in Australia.
Rohan Browning (centre) has long been the standard-bearer for sprinting in Australia.

For so long the standard-bearer for Australian sprinting, Rohan Browning now finds himself in the unfamiliar situation of sharing the limelight with teen sensation Torrie Lewis.

Browning couldn’t be happier about it, with 19-year-old Lewis breaking Melissa Breen’s decade-old Australian women’s 100m mark with a run of 11.10 seconds last month in Canberra.

It also gave the 26-year-old Browning the chance to reflect on how long it  took to learn what really worked best for him in such a demanding pursuit.

“I think Torrie is a great upcoming talent; she’s young, and to break the national record is really strong,” Browning told reporters on Tuesday in the lead-up to Thursday’s Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne.

Torrie Lewis
Torrie Lewis recently broke the Australian record for the women’s 100m sprint. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“She’s in a really good position to develop over the long term.

“We’re in this sport and it takes a long time.

“I’m in my 10th year of being a full-time athlete, training six days a week, totally devoted to the sport, and I feel that I’m just getting to reap the benefits.

“I feel like every year has been about learning and developing.

“Now I feel like I’m entering the peak years and I’m 26, so I should be.”

Browning will have his two serious competitive races of the year at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday night in the 100m and 200m.

With his focus already firmly set on the Paris Olympics, everything between now and then will be about maximising his chances of booking  a spot in the 100m final on August 4.

“I’m definitely the strongest I’ve ever been – all my training data suggests I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been,” said a leaner-looking Browning, who has dropped a couple of kilograms..

“The key thing is, can you do it when it counts, in competition?

“I’ve been trying to work on that mental side.

“Last year I was very technically oriented all the time.

“(But) you can’t focus on those fine motor skills when you’re trying to massively exert power in this really graceful way.”

Way back in 2014 when he clocked a wind-assisted 10.18 as a precocious teen, Browning figured it would only be a matter of time before he joined Patrick Johnson in the exclusive Australian sub-10 second club.

He has gone agonisingly close a few times since, most notably when running 10.01 in the opening round of the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics and 10.02 last year in Brisbane.

If and when it finally happens, it will be a very big deal in Australian sport.

But nothing will shift Browning’s laser-like Olympic focus in 2024.

He and coach Andrew Murphy have settled on a lighter racing program heading into the Paris Games, including just three home meets, a few events in Asia and the World Relays in the Bahamas.

There may also be a couple of meets in Europe, but there won’t be many.

“I’ve tried different strategies over the years,” Browning said.

“I’ve tried to compete myself into shape and I know that doesn’t work for me.

“I need to get in a good training block . I don’t need many competitions to perform well.”