Interview with Kola Adedoyin

The Triple Jump can be one of the toughest Track & Field disciplines for the body and not many jumpers can claim to have been untouched by injury at some time during their career. This can mean weeks, months, even years are lost before an athlete can get back to where they were, or for the very unlucky their career is tragically cut short. One athlete who has suffered more than most is Kola Adedoyin. The 2009 English Schools Champion reached the final of the 2010 World Junior Championships but injury prevented him from taking part, became the 2012 & 2013 British Indoor Champion and raised his PB to 16.61m in 2014 before suffering a major knee injury that could easily have been the catalyst to end his Triple Jump career. After nearly 3 years of recovery and rehabilitation, determined to get back challenging for the British Number 1 spot, Kola spoke to about the people who have helped him on his way back and his aims for 2017.

iTJ: How did you first get into athletics and when did you realise you had a talent for the Triple Jump?

KA: My primary school would have us try all the sports and in athletics club I tried the Standing Long and Triple Jump and it was pretty clear from there that I was a good jumper. Didn’t stop me from chasing the football career for a while. In secondary school I won a few school competitions and was then selected to represent Surrey at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham. I won a bronze medal and was immediately converted. I had always enjoyed athletics, but that competition made me look at athletics in a different light.

iTJ: Which Triple Jump Legends inspired you when you were young and which jumpers and coaches do you admire today?

KA: I always used to watch the AAA’s and Grand Prix’s on BBC. Jonathan Edwards was the dominating force at the time, but my favourite Triple Jumper to watch was Larry Achike. His energy during competition made him a more exciting Triple Jumper to watch. I was fortunate to train in the same group as him in the last 3 seasons of his career, which was immense.

In terms of Triple Jumpers I admire, I was very lucky to have trained with Frank Attoh for 5 seasons. The training group was filled with some of the best ever female Triple Jumpers in the world, with Yamilé Aldama and Trecia Smith, as well as Larry Achike who was Commonwealth Champion and 2-time Olympic finalist. They had a wealth of experience and I had a good relationship with all where I could talk and pick things up. I obviously admire my current coach Tosin Oke, and Cuban Triple jumper Alexis Copello.

iTJ: What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?

KA:  The highlight of my career so far is probably qualifying for the 2010 World Junior Championships Final in Moncton, Canada, with 15.85m into a headwind (-1.1m/s) in the last round. I had torn my ankle ligament 6 weeks before in Geneva and nobody had given me a hope to even line up. It was a bittersweet moment because I re-injured my ankle on that jump and didn’t actually jump in the final.

iTJ: What is your favourite stadium to compete in?

KA: It has to be Birmingham Alexander Stadium. We jump right in front of the crowd, the surface is great and a good atmosphere can be generated. It’s also the same place I initially competed at in the English Schools Championships.

iTJ: What’s been the worst injury you have suffered in your career and what tips can you give for avoiding injuries?

KA: The worst injury I’ve suffered would have to be in 2014 where I ruptured my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). I needed reconstructive surgery to ever have a chance to compete again. To avoid injuries as a Triple jumper, I would advise athletes to get to know their body and to listen to it. Also pay lots of attention to perfecting safe techniques in carrying out all movements.

iTJ: Following your ACL injury, in October 2014 you began training under the guidance of 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion Tosin Oke. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt from him and the biggest changes to your training methods?

KA: Tosin pretty much took care of my rehabilitation from the ground up. He has worked on many things with me, but mainly to learn my craft. Meaning that in the past I had achieved fantastic physical condition and been in great shape to break PBs and all the rest. However, I could never seem to fully make the breakthrough that seemed to be on its way, whether it was due to an untimely injury or scuffed jumps. He taught me that all the physical training in the world wouldn’t help me get what I wanted if I hadn’t understood and mastered my technical movement patterns. Training with him has been great. We have a lot of banter going on from start to finish, whilst the technical aspects of training are very intense – it’s a good mix.

iTJ: What are your competitive aims for 2017 and over the next few years in the Triple Jump?

KA: 2017 is a big year for me personally. After my surgery in 2014 I wasn’t sure I would ever jump again. I gave myself another 3 years and to re-evaluate after the end of this season. The aim, as with many athletes, would be to PB of course. I would say it’s the first winter season since before surgery that I have been able to train consistently. A good PB can put me back in contention to compete at the major championships over the next 2 seasons, and that is most definitely the aim. I stated in an interview I did in 2012 that I believe I have what it takes to be amongst some of the best – that was the motivation then and it still is.

iTJ: From the mental preparation at the end of the runway to the moment you land into the pit, what are you focusing on during a competitive Triple Jump?

KA: In competition I would probably think about the one key movement that would gain the biggest amount of distance for me. That would usually be worked out in training leading up to the event, and I would constantly remind myself of it. The rest is plain sailing because I would have (hopefully) got the repetitions done in training.

iTJ: When you’re not training or competing what other interests and activities do you have?

KA: Well, I’m a big Arsenal fan, so I watch them as much as possible. I keep myself busy with two start-up companies. The first one (KZ-Sports) is a Track & Field Agency established with a friend of mine, Ezekiel Ewulo, who Long Jumps. We set up in 2013 and have managed to help over 300 athletes, including Olympians and medallists at Commonwealths, Europeans and World Championships. The 2nd (London Reign Sports) is a brand I set up together with my training partners Nathan Fox, Nonso Okolo and Daniel Lewis.

iTJ: What advice would you give to any aspiring Triple Jumpers to help them make the most of their potential?

KA: I would advise them to continue to study the event and to learn what works them. Practice safe technique, and make sure you are adequately conditioned to handle the event. Be Fearless.

iTJ: Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for their help in your Triple Jump career?

KA: I would like to give a special shout-out to my club Newham & Essex Beagles. They have always been uber supportive, and even more so in the recent years where it’s been a struggle.

Also a special shout out to the Friends of Kings School (@kcsfriends). They have supported me since 2012, again especially over the past few years.

Josh North, my osteopath, he has been taking care of me since the summer of 2013, and has always manoeuvred his schedule to fit mine.

Tosin Oke, I called him and asked for some advice, he had agreed to coach me by the end of the conversation whilst still competing at the highest level. He has gone above and beyond on countless occasions and I probably wouldn’t still be doing the Triple Jump if he hadn’t stepped in. #OgaAtTheTop

Kola Adedoyin Profile:

Date of Birth: 8/4/91
Club: Newham & Essex Beagles
Lead Coach: Tosin Oke
Personal Best: 16.61m (2014)/16.50i (2013)

Annual Progression:

2005 12.62m 3rd English Schools Championships
2006 13.48m 1st Surrey Indoor Championships

2nd Surrey County Championships

2007 15.08m 1st English Athletics U17 Indoor Open Championships

1st South of England U17 Championships

2nd English Schools Championships

2008 14.13/14.50w 4th English Schools Championships
2009 15.63m 1st English Schools Championships

1st Southern Counties U20 Championships

2nd England U20 Championships

10th (Qualifying Pool B) European Junior Championships

2010 15.93m 1st Southern Indoor Championships

2nd England U20 Championships

2nd BUCS Championships

3rd (Qualifying Pool A) World Junior Championships

2011 16.06m 1st National U23 Championships

2nd Inter Counties Championships

5th World Trials & UK Championships

2012 16.25m 1st National U23 Championships

1st BUCS Championships

2nd Olympic Trials & UK Championships

2nd European Indoor Trials & UK Championships

2013 16.50i 2nd European Indoor Trials & UK Championships
2014 16.61m 3rd Bedford International Games
2015 15.79m 3rd All Nigeria Athletics Championships
2016 15.96m 6th British Athletics Championships

Written by iTripleJump

A Triple Jumper for over 35 years - from an over-hopping junior to a county-level senior - I still enjoy jumping in national and international Masters competitions in the event that has gripped me since my first hop, step and jump onto a springless PE mat. Waiting for that perfect jump. That one perfect jump ...

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