*T&FT@30 – Rewind 1998

A year of world-wide venues with Valencia, St. Petersburg, Budapest and Kuala Lumpur each having their fascinations and were well supported as a result. T&FT also extended the important role of training camps for elite and club athletes in developing a well-rounded business

It is in the winter off season that the groundwork for athletes and athletic tour operators alike prepare for the events to come. Over the years thousands of athletes have booked their warm weather training camps via T&FT. The majority have been club athletes but associations with federations and top coaches have seen many elite athletes work with T&FT. The annual Mike Smith training group in Portugal with the likes of Iwan Thomas putting in the hard track sessions, and specialist field eventers such as Steve Smith, were all catered for amongst so many others – they set a standard of preparation that T&FT endeavours to follow.

For Iwan the hard work saw him have the best season of his career. He won the 400m at both the Budapest European Champs and Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games running 44.52 on both occasions the latter a CG record. He also won gold in the 4 x 400m in Budapest plus a bronze for Wales in KL in the long relay. Late in the season Iwan also won the 400m at the IAAF World Cup in Johannesburg. All of those hard sessions with Mike in Southampton finessed by a few weeks in Portugal all played their part – to have seen Iwan in his prime do a multiple 600m repetition session running like a train was an awesome sight and a glimpse of the 800m runner he might have been!

In Budapest the GB team topped the medal table with 9 golds, 4 silver & 3 bronze medals. Roger Black was controversially not selected for the GB team but working for the media he was available and attended our T&FT Supporters Party event which went down very well.  On the social side the Danube Farewell Party evening cruise with live music and wonderful food was a big hit too. In St. Petersburg at the European Cup, earlier in the summer, we organised two group dinners at an events venue shared with a student ball one evening and a wedding the next with communal dancing and vodka shots to add to the experience – so many colourful memories.

In Valencia for the Euro Indoors the March event coincided with the remarkable annual Fire Festival which was an experience. In Budapest, with Formula 1 GP in the city the weekend before the Athletics, we had a large group of fans attend the F1 GP – a marmite reaction as half loved it and the other half hated it due to the noise and lap place confusions that made following multi track and field events look simple by comparison. In KL the multi-sport nature of the Commonwealth Games was, of course, a draw and our large group had much fun albeit in the humidity of the Malaysian capital. With top quality inexpensive tailoring on offer a good many fans took advantage and came across Paul Head and Donna Fraser in the same shop both having items tailored too – as Donna remarked “where else am I going to get a perfect trouser suit with my long legs?!”