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High-flying Bosnian explains his improved form, writes James Sullivan.

Bosnian 800m runner Amel Tuka has revealed that a coaching change in 2013 is the reason for his meteoric rise to two-lap stardom this season. Speaking after claiming bronze this evening, his country’s first every World Championship medal, the 24 year old described how having access to such expertise has enabled him to make the large step up from European finalist to world medallist.

“At Tampere in 2013, at the European Under-23 Championships, where I won the bronze medal, and in the final I ran 1:46.29, I met the best coach in the world, Gianni Ghidini,” remarked Tuka after finishing third behind Kenya’s David Rudisha and Poland’s Adam Kszczot. “He saw me in that competition and he saw that I could run better, and within 2 months we started to train together.”

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800m medallists (left to right): Amel Tuka, David Rudisha and Adam Kszczot

The Bosnian has raised a few eyebrows of late, improving his personal best this season from 1:46.12 to a blistering 1:42.51, which ranks him as the world’s fastest in 2015. “I train in Italy full time and we changed a lot of things. One was endurance. Before I had very good speed, but I didn’t have endurance, and my coach saw that and we started to work very seriously.”

“Last year I was sixth in the European Championships, which was my first European final, and this season we worked very hard and were very professional. I listen to my coach.”

Tuka, who is a latecomer to athletics, having only taken up the sport six years ago, after a background in karate, believes that being relatively new to track running, means he is still on a strong upward curve. “That’s the reason I made a big progress this season. I started to run at 18 years old and so I still have a lot of energy in my body.”

“We are very happy about the progress, and I hope next season we will make more of a big progress.”

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