Hackney long jumper intends to ease up at European Championships

England's JJ Jegede at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

England's JJ Jegede at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

JJ Jegede aims to be more chilled out at the European Championships in Zurich next week.

The Hackney long jumper admitted tension got the better of him as he finished seventh at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where his England team-mate and Olympic champion Greg Rutherford leapt to gold.

Jegede, the reigning British champion, was unable to better his second round jump of 7.81m after tightening up in the later rounds.

So the personal trainer and youth charity founder knows he has plenty to work at – or perhaps not work at – ahead of his journey to Switzerland.

“The biggest thing to work on between now and the Euros is just relaxing,” said Jegede. “It really is as simple as that.

“It is about relaxing through the board so I can use my speed.

“I have to say I was a bit tense as I wanted to win and I probably tried a bit too hard rather than just letting it come to me.

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“I wanted an eight-metre plus jump early on, then you can relax. That did not happen and each jump after that was me trying too hard to achieve that and so losing my rhythm.”

For the 28-year-old, there was still plenty to reflect positively on with regard to his Glasgow 2014 experience.

Having suffered more than his fair share of injuries in recent years and missed out on selection for London 2012 in his own backyard, just being back on the big stage was a bonus for Jegede.

Then to have qualified and gone on to have six jumps in the final was another good step in the right direction.

“I was here, I was in the stadium and I got to feel the atmosphere so I can’t really complain,” he said. “I was looking to compete in a major championship, so that is one box ticked.

“I then made the last eight so got an extra three jumps, box ticked and I’m in one piece. So that is another good thing, that I haven’t hurt myself.”

Jegede acknowledged that Rutherford remains the man for the rest to beat, not so much because he jumps exceptional distances, but because he consistently produces on the big stage.

“Greg is a very good long jumper who runs very well,” added Jegede. “He is consistent as well and that helps. The distances he is jumping like 8.20m are okay, but they are achievable jumps for me.

“The thing is, he is doing it when it matters, so I take my hat off to him. Hopefully I will be able to do it one day.”

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