McMullen aims for long jump medal

Athletics Weekly - - News -


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 ath­let­ic­ on the eve of the men’s long jump qual­i­fy­ing on April 10

Adam McMullen: Com­mon­wealth Games long jump medal con­tender and coach

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