Athletics Weekly - - The Big Feature -

ATH­LET­ICS and com­edy may not im­me­di­ately seem to go hand in hand, but

Naomi Ogbeta – who went straight from the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships jumps run­way to im­prov at the Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val – says the lat­ter helps her in the sport.

Ex­plain­ing the mean­ing of “im­prov”, she says: “It’s act­ing with a lot of au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion, so we’ll make up sketches on the spot ... It’s def­i­nitely helped me with ath­let­ics when it comes to nerves be­cause it can be quite sim­i­lar in a way hav­ing to think on the spot, change things and adapt.

“When we do im­prov, we do dif­fer­ent games or scenes and some­times one game could not go well but you just have to for­get it and move on and that kind of re­minds me of when I was at BUCS and I did a no-jump and then you have to clear your mind and move on to the next round. And then I did an­other no-jump and then I had to clear my mind again. I ended up hav­ing to change it to a short ap­proach and I ended up win­ning.”

She would also like to try stand-up com­edy and with re­gards to how se­ri­ously she wants to take it all, she says: “I’m still hav­ing fun with it but I also want to see how it goes.”

Which is more scary – ap­pear­ing on stage or on the run­way as the cen­tre of at­ten­tion?

“I think if I al­ready knew peo­ple were go­ing to find me funny I’d be happy I was go­ing to go on stage in front of loads of peo­ple and make peo­ple laugh,” she says. “I’d rather do ath­let­ics in front of loads of peo­ple than be on stage on my own be­cause you’re the cen­tre of at­ten­tion and you’ve got one job, that’s to make peo­ple laugh. Triple jump is more about your­self and not so much about other peo­ple.”

Ogbeta’s vlogs (video blogs) dur­ing the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships proved an in­ter­net hit and she would like to also try her hand at pre­sent­ing one day. She did some in­ter­view­ing at Cream­fields mu­sic fes­ti­val this year for lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion Unity FM.

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