Ben Offereins - "Basically, I panicked"
Offereins sees the bigger picture
By Ray Wilson,
The West Australian
June 25, 2011
Ben Offereins' stocktake on his 2010 performances is very personal and extremely painful.
Yet the WA 400m runner believes that year of implosion will be pivotal to his development.
The two-time Australian 400m champion admits he self-destructed in Europe before the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, where he was one of the favourites to win gold, but after a seventh place in the individual one-lap event he was dumped from the relay final in which Australia won gold.
Offereins, who leaves Perth for Europe on Monday in preparation for the World Athletics Championships in South Korea in August, was brutally honest about his overseas mission last year where he lost his way with his training, opting at times to fly off on tangents to the programs set by Australian 400m coach Lyn Foreman.
"I cracked," Offereins, 25, said. "It happened well before Comm Games. Mentally, I was all right when I got to Delhi, but physically I wasn't in any sort of shape.
"I went to Europe for my first full European campaign and was without Lyn for a month.
"On my own, I started to worry about things. My weight was fluctuating. At training I'd do stuff I shouldn't be doing because I had it in my head that it would be beneficial rather than checking with Lyn.
"I was stressing about races and my weight, then I'd have a competition and not run well. Basically, I panicked.
"It ruined me. I wasn't in any sort of shape to do what I was capable of. That was annoying, frustrating."
Foreman said Offereins made some poor career choices but she is confident that her charge now is capable of reaching his potential.
"He's got back on the rails," Foreman said. "He's really determined and has got better with each run during the Australian season.
"One thing I never did was stop believing in him. He just needed good guidance."
Learning curves don't get much steeper for a young man who first won the Australian 400m title as a junior in 2005 and stunned the Australian athletics world with a sizzling third leg of the 400m relay final in the world championships in Berlin in 2009 when the Aussies grabbed bronze.
Part of his build-up to next month's European meetings - in France, Belgium and Switzerland during his month away - was to spend three weeks in an "altitude house" at the AIS in Canberra.
Whether it helps produce a qualifying time of 45.25sec. before the end of July to give Offereins - one of eight Australians to break the 45-second barrier - a ticket into the individual event as well as the relay is yet to be determined, but he said he wouldn't be clock watching in Europe before the world titles where he will team with Sean Wroe, Steven Solomon and John Steffensen.