JJ is a determined athlete who has beaten injury to prove that with focus, discipline, and with the right people around to encourage and advise you, anyone can achieve their goals.
Growing up in East London, JJ was actively involved in sports with trials at several football clubs before knee problems at the age of 14 put an end to his dreams of Premier League glory. But health issues were not a restraint for JJ.
When he was 16, JJ’s PE teacher persuaded him to try the long jump, and he excelled. The following season (2003) he represented Essex at the English Schools Championships, and in 2004 he won the U20 AAA Championship and his first international vest. However in 2005 whilst competing at the Senior Indoors AAA he tore a hamstring, forcing him to rest until he made his triumphant 2007 return to the athletics field.
JJ was diagnosed with patellar tendinopathy in late 2008 and advised to stop competing. JJ refused to give up. After just two months training JJ returned to competition in 2009 bettering his personal best with his first jump, but another injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.
In 2012, JJ became UK Indoor Champion with a stadium record 7.96m and improved his indoor best to 8.04m. At the European Championships JJ came an agonising 4th but improved his best to 8.11m. In 2014, JJ represented England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing seventh in the long jump final, and Great Britain at the European Athletics Championships, again reaching the final. He was also won both the indoor and outdoor British Championship titles.
On his appointment as Athlete Mentor for Sky Sports Living for Sport, JJ comments: “I feel blessed to still be competing despite my numerous setbacks. I want to visit as many schools as possible and show the children that if they keep believing, they can achieve anything!
JJ spent the day with some of our Year 7 students at school, teaching them the 6 keys to success and how they relate to everyday life and not just sports performance.