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Jonathan gets his hands on gold in Dubai

The 31-year-old has set his sights on retaining his gold medal at Tokyo 2020

Liam Headd

Liam Headd

liam.headd@newburynews.co.uk

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Jonathan gets his hands on gold in Dubai

PARALYMPIC Athlete Jonathan Broom-Edwards expressed the ‘elation and relief’ after winning his first gold medal for Great Britain.

The 31-year-old won the T64 high jump event at the World Para-Athletics Championships held in Dubai last month.

Broom-Edwards leapt 2.02m to pip Uzbekistan’s Temurbek Giyazov to the gold medal.

But it wasn't all plain sailing for the former Clere School pupil.

“It was a difficult competition,” he said. “The organisation and the standard of it was difficult and some of the officials were not clued up on the rules of play.

“To top that off, I had two jumps where I was on third attempts in order to win the competition, so it was a huge amount of elation and relief when I cleared the final bar to win it.

“At one point, it looked like I wasn’t going to make it so it through up many mixed emotions.”

Although the score wasn’t his personal best, the former Clere School pupil did what he needed to do to win the prestigious prize.

“It is way off my personal best and if I am honest I was emotionally spent and I even had a couple of attempts at the next bar.

“I did what I wanted to do, my body wasn’t in the best of positions like it was six months prior, but I had done enough.”

With the 2020 Paralympic Games less than a year away, Broom-Edwards has set his sights on retaining his gold medal.

“I know I have plenty more in me and I am more determined and driven for Tokyo then I ever have been.

“My aim is to retain that gold now,” he admitted. “I have the Europeans and the Paralympics in 2020 so I want to take this momentum and carry it forward to those competition.”

The 31-year-old was born with congenital talipes, also known as Clubfoot, which is where one or both feet are rotated inward and downward.

Broom-Edwards was due to represent Great Britain at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, Germany, but due to an Achilles injury he was unable to participate.

“It was actually my talipes leg where I ruptured my Achilles which is extremely rare and my surgeon even said there was no case studies of it ever happening before.

“When I had surgery as a baby, it left a scar and it was at the end of that scar where I ruptured my Achilles.

“I had to go through the repair work and before this I was in the shape of my life and I was looking forward to going to the Berlin European Championships.

“Since then, it has been a big grind as there was a lot of work and rehab in order to get me to Dubai, so it wasn’t smooth sailing.”

Like any athlete, injuries can affect you both mentally and physical, but Broom-Edwards has praised the support from people who have helped him through it all.

“My mental state has changed over the years,” he said. “Building up to Rio, I wasn’t in a great place, but I went through a change in my coaching set-up and then I was in a great place, but that was before I ruptured my Achilles.

“It was another challenge to push my mind through and I had to share my thanks to my team, especially my girlfriend Devon because she was my rock that helped me.

“It was tough because I wasn’t able to do anything and I have had to slowly learn how to walk again, before learning to run too.

“Every niggle takes you back to the injury, mentally, and it’s been a big battle, but I know for a fact it has made me stronger and now setbacks fuel me nowadays whereas I used to have a defeated mentality.”

When Broom-Edwards spoke about the support, he was also quick to recognise the help from his family and friends.

“When I say my team, it includes my friends and family because they are the ones who are there to support me when times are tough.

“I had physio with British Athletics who really looked after me and I had the support from doctors too as well as my coach Graham Ravenscroft because he has been with me for a while now.

“It’s those members of your team who are the driving force in so many ways because they help you.”

Whilst not training and working towards different competitions, Broom-Edwards spends time with a charity called inspire plus, where he is an ambassador.

Work with charity includes school visits and on this responsibility, he said: “when I go into school I am teaching the kids something they might not learn in class.

“I am in the process of writing a new talk for 2020 and those will begin in January.”

On top of this, the 31-year-old is a therapist where he tries to help individuals with pain or injuries.

“I have a private clinic set-up in my house and, because I have been away for a month, I am busy until the end of December.

“I am on an off-season break at the moment which will entail conditioning work where I am running a lot more.

“I am fitting it in with seeing clients and I have had between 80 or 90 clients in the space of three-and-a-half weeks.”

Broom-Edwards, who was head boy at Clere School, is happy that he has other challenges in his life because it keeps him from thinking about Athletics all the time.

“Personally I would go insane if I focused solely on Athletics because if things go wrong and you have only one focus, it can really drag you down.

“I want to do something that challenges me in other ways so it can keep me sane, but also I want to give back to the sport that has provided me with so much and it fills me with joy.

“I want to inspire a younger generation and other people and it’s something that I really thrive off,” he added.

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