Olympic champion sprinter Michael Johnson (MJ) along with Adnan Al Abbar, Senior Vice President - Group Planning & Project Management at DP World at Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) in Mina Rashid, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Track and field legend and four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson is willing to reach out in assisting the UAE in its drive to tap top-level sporting talent.

Johnson, who is in Dubai to oversee his Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) that is scheduled to open at Mina Rashid in Bur Dubai in October, is more than happy to offer his expertise and experience to fulfil the nation’s dream of reaching the pinnacle in various sports.

First launched in McKinney, Texas, in 2007, MJP is an internationally recognised leader in athletic development and improvement. Over the past decade MJP has evolved as a global leader in sports performance works with numerous Olympic teams and football clubs, including English Premier League sides Manchester United and Arsenal, and has operations in more than 20 countries around the world.

A partner of trade enabler DP World, the 38,750 square feet facility located in the heart of Dubai is aligned with the UAE’s Vision 2021 with the aim of developing and sustaining a healthy community. The facility is meant to offer members the ultimate fitness experience with individual personal training sessions, group fitness classes, sports medicine and nutrition, and athletic development programmes for young athletes, and high-performance training programmes for professional athletes all under one roof.

“Yes, we have already made contact with some of the organisations including the UAE NOC and we will be certainly looking to provide the same type of support to the UAE that we have provided to NOCs from around the world,” Johnson told Gulf News in an exclusive chat at the Mina Rashid facility on Monday. “If they see value in the services that we are offering then we would be interested in developing the next generation of Emirati athletes.

“We can definitely contribute in any sphere where we are wanted. We are here to offer our services to anyone who wants it. We will provide our expertise and experience to help athletes reach their potential. And if there is anyone who has the desire and commitment to be the best, then we are here to tap into that potential and make a world-class athlete,” he added.

Following initial surveys, Johnson’s MJP will focus on three core aspects, namely the everyday individual adult looking to stay fit, programmes for youngsters between 6 to 18 years and professional athletes based in the country.

In addition, there will be a separate sports medicine wing specifically designed to treat injuries or assist in rehabilitation and return to sport of high-level athletes.

“Dubai is a unique opportunity for us. I think there is a real recognition right now on the benefits of fitness, and this is a very exciting place where a brand like MJP will fit in very cozily,” Johnson said.

“Our recognition around the world as a sports performance and human performance entity will certainly benefit the growing population of Dubai, and the combination of that as well as Dubai being a destination for athletes from around the world makes it more enticing,” the 50-year-old added.