Long-jumper Daniel Bramble made his Commonwealth Games debut for Team England at the Gold Coast earlier this year finishing a respectable fifth place and now has his sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Dan became the 2017 British Champion in his sport and has taken part in the Green Park Sessions run by GB Active. Meeting up with Dan in the summer, he told us about his Commonwealth Games debut, being the British Indoor Long Jump Champion three years running and how it feels competing in front of a home crowd.
How did you find the experience at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year?
Commonwealth Games was amazing, that was my first multi-sports games. The whole environment, the village and just the build-up towards the championships was really good, it’s the best experience athletics-wise I’ve had, I think, so far.
What did you do at the Gold Coast when not competing or training?
We went to the beach, and in the village they had a lot of activities as well, we had koalas, dancers… every day there was something different going on, so just mainly explored the village. We had downtime, especially towards competition, so we didn’t really do too much, we just stayed in our rooms and watched athletics and stuff.
Out of all the competitions you’ve had this year, which would you say was the hardest?
Probably Commonwealths, more specifically the Commonwealth final. The heats were nerve-racking because I didn’t jump the standard straight away, but the final was when the pressure was on. The crowd was packed, just buzzing, the whole atmosphere was really crazy and nothing I’ve really experienced before.
You’ve been the British Indoor Long Jump Champion three years running, how did this feel?
It felt good actually, it just shows with putting in the hard work it pays off, but unfortunately I couldn’t do it this year because I was injured. It was a big relief because you put yourself through a lot in the winter, so to come out that early and then become a champion, it sets you up for the season.
How different is it competing in front of a home crowd?
I feel like competing in front of a home crowd is a lot better, I’ve always maintained that the Anniversary Games is my favourite event – it’s a home crowd and a massive stadium. I didn’t go to the 2012 Olympics, so for me that’s probably the closest I can get to that, it’s a massive difference.
Do you feel more pressure when you’re the only Team GB or England long jump competitor at events?
At first, in 2015, I did, but now I take it in my stride. I’m in a competition, I’m only competing for myself, so I kind of just see it as – focus on what you need to do and don’t worry about who you’re representing – because at the end of the day I’m always representing myself.
Can you remember how you felt when you first represented GB and England?
Yeah, I was really nervous actually. I represented England before I represented Great Britain. Getting that Great Britain vest is what I’d been trying to do for ages, it was really nerve-racking just putting on the colours and knowing that you’re representing your whole country. At the time as well I was the only male long jumper at the competition, so I felt a lot of pressure.
What was your first professional competition?
I’d say 2015 after I jumped 8.21. I got selected for the European Team Championships in Russia, that was my first, and then I went to the World Championships in Beijing which was a big step up for me, haha!
Do you have a favourite venue to compete at?
Yeah, probably either Birmingham or the Olympic Stadium, I’m not sure which one, so I’ll have both, haha!
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your sport?
I’d say staying injury-free. We put our body through a lot, especially during the winter season, so staying injury-free is the main factor that could hold us back.
Can you tell us what your daily training consists of?
My daily training, for example: Monday would be gym, Tuesday would be sprint sessions, Wednesday would be technical (so jumps, short approach and run ups), Thursday running, Friday off and then Saturday and Sunday both drills and take off drills.
When did you realise you were good enough to become a professional long jumper?
Probably after the 2012 Olympics. I watched the 2012 Olympics and that really inspired me. Seeing Greg (Rutherford) win a medal I thought, I’ve been doing long jump long enough, let me start taking this seriously. In 2013 I jumped 7.91, got funding from British Athletics and then from there I just took it seriously.
Were there any other sports you were interested in before getting involved in athletics?
When I first started doing sport I did taekwondo, I did football as well, and those were my two main sports. I didn’t really look at athletics as a sport.
Can you say about the Green Park sessions you’re involved in?
It is a session provided by GB Active, it’s for people of all ages, mainly people that work in the city. They have a PT-led session and then they have an athlete-based lesson, so we take them through basically what I do in my training sessions, but tone it down a little bit!
You also do school visits, how have you become involved with these?
Mainly through a friend. It was something I was looking into and it helps with my people skills and talking in front of crowds. I heard a few athletes were doing it so I got into it that way. It’s good fun.
Do you hope to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and can you tell us the selection process?
Definitely. 2012 I just wasn’t doing athletics properly, 2016 I got injured and I was off the standard by 1cm which really hurt, so 2020 is the definite goal. I think the year before the season of the Games they put out standards, so you have to jump the standard. It’s usually around 8.10/8.20, but it changes every year. Then we have the British Championships and you have to either come top two or top three, then they select you based on that.
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