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JJ Jegede

NCFC logo
Norwich Career: Trial
Current Club:
Date of Birth:  
Nationality: English


Athlete JJ Jegede is one of Britain's hopefuls for a medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Long Jump.

As a youngster, he was football mad and performances for the Barking Abbey school team won him trials at Norwich and Spurs. However at the beginning of secondary school when he suffered growing pains and had issues with his knees. He was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, which usually occurs in teenagers and causes pain and swelling just below the kneecap.

I wanted to be a footballer. It was my dream to be the next Ian Wright but I could not really run from year seven to year ten. I was not able to run as fast as I wanted to so I could not perform to the best of my ability,” he recalls.

But by the age of 15 the dream of being a professional sportsman seemed over due to his injury woes until his teacher, Mr Tickner, asked him to represent the school in the borough track and field championships.

“I said to him I do not like athletics I am a footballer,” he adds.

“They forced me down there to do the triple jump and the guy who was meant to do the long jump pulled out at the last minute so I did it instead. I jumped 5.88m and the winner got 5.89m. I lost by one centimetre so I thought to myself I can do this. If I did not go to that competition at 16 I do not know what I would have been doing right now. That one centimetre is what made me think I could be number one in this sport.”

The raw talent was clear to see as he became an age-group UK Indoor champion within two years at the under-20 AAA Championship in Birmingham.

Jegede jumps for the Newham and Essex Beagles - the nearest athletics club to the Olympic site and swears his allegiance to them.

His loyalty transcends the sand pit as he does a lot of mentoring work in the area with local children. He works with Met Track - a Metropolitan Police scheme to get kids off the streets via athletics and even has his own mentoring organisation called The Heroes.

“I will never leave this club. It is my local club. But many people are jumping on the Olympic bandwagon and wanting to join this club now as it is situated in East London. I used to cycle through what is now the Olympic Park to go to Newham to train twice a week as Hackney had no clubs or tracks. The first event I did was for Met Track when I went down to Waltham Forest. The kids down there were all about gangs. But the children kept coming down every week and there was this one bad kid who did not care about anything and he turned into a good kid. When I saw this it made me realise that even as I strive to be the best in my sport I can still helps others along the way.”

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