Athletics

'My Attitude Is That I'm Never Satisfied. One Day, I Want To Be The Best Jumper In The World'

'My Attitude Is That I'm Never Satisfied. One Day, I Want To Be The Best Jumper In The World'

"It's the most ideal place to be in the middle of a global pandemic," said Jordan Lee.

For the Irish para athletic high jumper, that spot is Killarney.

"I'm originally from Killarney but I live in Killorglin with my mother, my stepfather and three brothers and younger sister," he told the Paralympics Ireland YouTube Channel.

"I went on a training trip to Birmingham about two-and-a-half months ago before the lockdown happened - I was doing sessions with Fuzz Caan, one of the best high jump coaches in the world.

"When I came back, I had a chat with my mother and stepfather and we thought it would be best that I stay with my father because my family in Killorglin were extremely cautious about me going out training and bringing it back to my younger brothers and sisters.

"I'm getting some quality training in as well. I've got access to a pitch and putt course which is just outside my dad's apartment.

"I'm training six times a weeks and doing double sessions three times a week. I'm getting a lot of speed work done, a lot of cardio endurance work done, different variations of plyometrics. I also have gym equipment. I'm getting everything in, except jumping over a bar backwards, which I doubt I'm going to be able to replicate for a while now.

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"With the training plan myself and my coach Tomás Griffin have put in place, we feel like we're getting great benefit. When we go back to jumping properly at the track, my body won't go into shock and will be in pretty good shape."

"I've had to be creative with my training. I have my gym equipment but an essential for a high jumper is the squat. A key component to doing the squat is the squat rack. I don't have one. I used two bins and made my own make-shift rack. It's a funny situation: I never thought I'd be using my two bins for a squat rack.

"It makes you grateful for the small things."

Lee was born without a left forearm but did not allow that to hamper his sporting ambitions. He played fully able-bodied basketball at underage level for Ireland. Last year, he finished fourth in the National Senior Championships, jumping a personal best of 1.95m.

He went into November's Para Athletics World Championships with real medal expectations in the T47 category but an injury suffered just two weeks prior to the competition scuppered his chances.

"Dubai was a funny experience," he said.

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I was going to the competition ranked number two in the world, just after turning 19, with a lot of pressure knowing that I'm going into the competition with a lot of expectations on me to get a medal.

It was unfortunate that I picked up a heel injury two weeks before the competition. I wasn't going let that stop me from competing for my country - the greatest pride in the world is representing Ireland.

I actually jumped really for someone with a heel injury. My heel was extremely sore. I jumped 1.87m, three days before the competition, I couldn't jump 1.75m.

I'm actually quite proud about how myself and Tomás were able to get my game together.

To finish sixth in the world, it's still a good achievement. I always know that I can do better. My attitude is that I'm never satisfied with where I'm at. One day, I want to be the best jumper in the world and I believe that I definitely will.

Lee is using lockdown as an opportunity to turn his weaknesses into strengths.

"I'm trying to stay as motivated and positive as I possibly can," he said.

"There's a quote that I've used on social media posts: 'We can't control the situation that we're in but we can control the way we react towards it'.

"By continuing to stay positive and see this as an opportunity to better yourself in some way, we will all get through this and this situation will all pass us by."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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