British Indoor Championships 2019
Thanks, BBC for streaming this 3rd indoor meet of mine online and actually showing a couple of my jumps!
The one goal of this meet was to place top-2 and confirm my selection for Glasgow. (That’s the only way to guarantee automatic selection as I also have the 6.50m qualifier from this year and last). Unfortunately I didn’t do this. I finished 3rd.
Many would be happy with a bronze medal at a national Champs, but this was more bitter than sweet! I definitely shed a few tears. And I am not ashamed to say that. Because I’m passionate about performing well and putting on a good show for athletics fans watching. And I failed to do that. I didn’t even achieve the one goal I’d focused on for that meet. (Well I also aimed to smile more in the arena!)
My face says it all.
(Podium pictures are courtesy of Charlotte Jones! Thank you:))
But I’m thankful, as I always will be, for finishing healthy. The last time I competed in Birmingham I hobbled away (2015) with a hamstring tear that wrote me off from the European Indoor Champs (which I’d already been selected for)! So, this year at least I left the arena as I came (physically, at least!) Mentally and emotionally I felt a bit down and out. But spiritually, I was still filled with faith. I can’t lose that. I won’t lose that.
So, I write this part of the blog as I travel down to Birmingham on the Crosscounty train from Manchester. Tomorrow I compete again at Birmingham. For the Grand Prix and, again I go to confirm my place on the GB team to Glasgow for the European Indoor Championships. (Please God, help me soar!)
And, as Iris encourages, “I AM jumping far!”
Birmingham Grand Prix
We did it!
I jumped 6.59m. A season’s best and another European Champs standard. And I finished a respectable 2nd behind Olympic Medallist and reigning World Indoor Champion, Ivana Spanovic.
And most importantly, I had a LOT of fun doing it.
I aimed to smile more. And I truly felt this from the inside-out. I had so much peace going into the competition because of a chat I’d had with Jules from Christians in Sport on Friday afternoon (the day before the comp) over ‘fish and chips’, as my good friend and colleague Jade Lally put it. (It was a salmon nicoise salad and skin-on-fries, because that sounds (and is) WAY healthier!) Ha.
The verse that I carried with me into the competition was this:
“The LORD is near.” Philippians 4:5
And the story that I had in my mind was that the experience of jumping is greater than the outcome of the competition – distance or position.
The joy comes not in the result, but in the process of doing what I’ve been gifted by God to do, and remembering that as I jump, God is with me and this brings Him pleasure. It’s like baking Christmas cookies with your mum or dad. The process may be messy and the cookies may not turn out great, but there’s so much joy just spending time together doing this fun activity. It’s such a simple truth. But it was a true and timely revelation for me.
Finally, I haven’t yet watched the 1981 film ‘Chariots of Fire’ (about Eric Liddell, a British Olympic Champion and Christian), but his quote resonated with me this weekend and I pray I’ll continue to remember this as my truth for the rest of my athletics career and beyond:
“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.” “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” – Eric Liddell
Find your own statement of truth and hold it close. Here’s mine.
When I jump, I feel His pleasure.
More information on the results: