McMullen aims for long jump medal
“EACH YEAR I DEVELOP AS A COACH I ALSO DEVELOP AS AN ATHLETE” ADAM McMULLEN
HE may have appeared as an extra in a Bollywood movie and found himself on the set of Game of Thrones, but Adam McMullen knows he followed the right career path in pursuing athletics, writes Euan Crumley.
The long jumper is not only preparing to compete at his first Commonwealth Games, for Northern Ireland, but he also coaches one of the rising stars in the national team, Kate O’Connor.
Both are now in Australia and fine-tuning their build-up and McMullen is seeing the fruits of his labour, both as a coach and athlete. Indeed, the fact that he works with Athletics Northern Ireland in developing youngsters is helping to sharpen his own skills when it comes to performance.
“The more I try to coach and help other athletes the more I learn about my own long jump,” says the 27-year-old, who broke his own Northern Ireland indoor record with 7.99m earlier this year.
“I’ll say to an athlete ‘when such and such happens in a competition then you shouldn’t do this’ and then realise it’s something I do myself. I need to practice what I preach. Each year I develop as a coach I also develop as an athlete.”
McMullen has been setting a fine example this year. His record leap in February came at the Irish indoor championships, the day after he had contested the British Championships against Greg Rutherford.
Jumping against athletes of that calibre in both Birmingham and at the Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow have provided just the right sort of experience ahead of what will be a high-quality field at the Gold Coast Games.
“At the British trials I could see CJ Ujah, Ojie Edoburun and Asha Philip getting warmed up, Greg as well,” he says. “You do get caught up in it all a little bit and start thinking ‘I wonder what kind of drills they do?’ and you kind of lose focus on yourself.
“However, quite quickly I was able to come out of that. I was there to be competitive.”
He adds: “That experience will help, going to the Commonwealth Games, especially when you have the likes of world champion Luvo Manyonga. I need to focus on myself and not get swept up in the big athlete or big-name lifestyle.”
For more on this story, see athleticsweekly.com on the eve of the men’s long jump qualifying on April 10
Adam McMullen: Commonwealth Games long jump medal contender and coach