21 year old Team England long jump medallist Jazmin Sawyers has risen through the ranks from the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011, to the Elite Games in Glasgow 2014. She recently returned from captaining Great Britain in the European U23 Championships where she also won a silver medal and achieved a new personal best.
We spoke to Jazmin about the role the Commonwealth Games played in her success and what she has planned for the future.
Team England: Jazmin, congratulations on your recent captaincy and success at the European U23 Championships in Estonia. How are you feeling?
Jazmin Sawyers: “I am delighted. It was a massive honour that they decided I was the best person to lead the team and push them on in the competition. It’s a real compliment and it’s really humbling that they view me that way. One day, I hope to replicate that in a senior team. It’s been a big focus for me to get the PB and for that to come along with a medal is great.”
TE: You’ve continued to improve since we first met you as a Team England Youth Athlete at the Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011, where you won two golds.
JS: “Looking back at all the competitions I have done as an athlete, the Commonwealth Youth Games were very important for me and my development. It was my first ever Games and it gives you a real sense of what an international multi-sports event is going to be like. So when you come to the senior Games, you know what to expect and you can give it your best performance because you’ve had that experience.”
TE: The 2015 Youth Team is heading out to Samoa in September. As a Youth Team graduate, what advice would you give them about competing and using the experience to develop?
JS: “They need to get stuck into it, enjoy it and try not to think about the competition too much as it will just add pressure. All the athletes taking part were picked because they are good enough to be representing their country. The minute they start to get nervous they need to remember that they’ve earnt their spot on the team. It’s the same events that they have always done, just bigger and more exciting.
“The Youth Games also helped me get selected for Glasgow. There were a whole handful of us that went to the Youth Games that ended up qualifying for Glasgow 2014. It prepared me well and got me used to the environment.”
TE: We can’t believe it’s been a year since you won your silver medal in Glasgow! That was a season’s best jump for you, what are your memories of the Games?
JS: “Without a shadow of a doubt, Glasgow 2014 was the best moment of my career to date. Everything was bigger, more impressive and more exciting than I could have ever imagined - the noise, the support from the crowds and standing on the podium was amazing. Having been to a Youth Games, I was prepared for what to expect, but it was a great experience and far better than anyone could ever imagine.”
TE: What’s it like being amongst English athletes from so many different disciplines?
JS: “It was a great atmosphere. We got to know Team England athletes from other sports and watch them compete. The way Team England created the environment within the Village really brought home that we were one big team, not just athletes competing in individual sports.”
TE: We’re looking forward to bringing together Team England for 2018; do you think the Gold Coast Games are within your sights?
JS: “Absolutely, 2018 is a huge focus for me, I want to go there, do one better and get gold. That’s the target for that year and it’s firmly in my sights.”