LOUIS Persent says spending time at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre has been “hugely beneficial” in helping him get back up to speed.

The 400 metres runner from Braiswick spent 12 days at the Dallas-based facility, which was founded by four-time Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Johnson.

Persent, who was hampered by Achilles problems last year, was able to fund his trip to the United States thanks to his involvement on the Sky Sports Scholarships scheme.

The 23-year-old benefited from the facilities at the centre, which focuses on performance training and increasing athletes’ speed, agility, power, flexibility and quickness.

Persent said: “Going to Dallas was something that I could do with the financial support I now have from the scholarship.

“I have the freedom now to go out and use the scholarship in the way my coach and I feel is most appropriate.

“That sort of trip is something that I’d never have been able to do before – and the scholarship has already been hugely beneficial.

“The Michael Johnson Centre was a really great place and it’s helped me to get up to 100 per cent speed.

“It’s a place where they have state-of-the-art equipment, which is used to improve speed and develop power.

“A lot of athletes go there for rehab and to manage their injuries and get physio treatment.

“And in my eyes, Michael Johnson is the greatest sprinter.”

Persent has high hopes for 2014, where he is set his sights on staying injury-free and has targeted participation in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The former World Junior silver medallist is currently taking part in winter training in Eton, in readiness for the new season.

“Things have been going well,” said Persent, who is one of a dozen talented young athletes to be picked for the three-year scholarship scheme.

“I’m very optimistic about the future and I have no worries about getting ready for the outdoors.

“I hope that I can now avoid any more of the injuries that I’ve been having – that’s the main goal.

“I’m very happy with how my Achilles is now and I’m probably feeling stronger than I’ve ever been.

“I’ve worked so hard over the last few months and I just can’t wait for the next four or five months of training.

“I’ll start the summer programme a bit earlier than normal, because of the deadline for the Commonwealth Games.

“I love what I do and when you haven’t competed for so long, it makes you relish it even more.”