The Leeds City long jumper is targeting a Euro Juniors medal this summer
With the long jump qualifying distance for the European Junior Championships already in the bank, Jacob Fincham-Dukes is aiming for a podium place in Sweden this summer.
After winning the England Athletics under-20 and English Schools’ titles last year, the 18-year-old got his first taste of major international action at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon, where he narrowly missed making the final. However, the experience has made him more determined to succeed in the future.
“It was fantastic, mixing with great athletes like Dina Asher-Smith and David Omoregie, who are both doing well in the seniors this year, as well as the future talents Tom Somers (200m) and Adam Hague (pole vault),” says Jacob.
“Being there gave me huge motivation during the hard winter’s training,” he adds.
This year started well for the Leeds City athlete, as he won Northern 60m hurdles and long jump titles before winning the England Athletics under-20 indoor long jump with a European Junior qualifying standard of 7.60m, a mark that places him fourth on the age group indoor UK all-time rankings.
As well as his aims for his main event, the talented athlete still enjoys hurdling. Last year he was Northern 110m hurdles and long jump champion and claimed silver in the 400m hurdles.
“Long jump is my favourite event and I just want to see how far I can jump in the future,” he explains. “I love competing and the feeling I get from winning. There is also the odd 100m race thrown in to keep my focus on increasing my speed,” he says, when speaking of his event choice.
Jacob has two coaches to accommodate his hurdling and long jump schedule.
“On a Monday and Friday I do long jump training and gym with Matt Barton, who I have been with since I was 14. Matt has a great young training group with some hugely talented athletes. On a Wednesday and Saturday I train with Veronica Boden in Sheffield doing sprint and long hurdles. She has really helped me improve my speed. My final day is on my own in a local gym, which can be tough, but it is something I love doing,” he explains.
Coming from a sporting family has undoubtedly helped Jacob’s success. His sister, Alice, did high jump to English Schools level and his dad did a range of sports, including football.
Jacob started out in football, but went to Leeds City Athletics Club to improve his speed and never looked back.
“I loved the athletics and how well I started to do, so it was an easy choice,” he explains.
Studying for A Levels in psychology, PE and biology at St John Fisher & St Aidan’s Combined 6th Form in Harrogate, Jacob wants to go to university to study a sports-related subject.
On his long term aims in athletics, the youngster does not hesitate, saying: “My main aim is to transition into a successful senior and become a full international for Great Britain.”
You can find further performance stats on Jacob on Power of 10 here.
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