The Commonwealth long jump silver medallist on the changes she has made and her experience recording the official anthem of Commonwealth Games England
There has been no shortage of sacrifices made by Jazmin Sawyers in recent months but it will all be worth it if she claims Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast, writes Dora Allday.
The long jumper changed her coaching setup in October, moving from Stoke-on-Trent to Florida ahead of April’s competition in Australia.
Sawyers admits to feeling home-sick in the US, missing her family, friends and boyfriend as she fine-tunes her preparations.
And the 23-year-old, a former heptathlete and bobsledder, revealed there’s no Disneyland and sunbathing in the US – with the long jumper putting her life on hold to get into the best possible shape for an assault on a Commonwealth title Down Under and improve on her silver from Glasgow four years ago.
“I’m trying to take the same attitude I took to Glasgow with me to the Gold Coast,” she said.
“I’m not going to put any expectation on myself, I’m going to go and enjoy it, because I’ve done the training and now I am ready.
“That relaxed, go have fun attitude is what brought me the results last time, so I’m hoping that my training will carry me through and that attitude will do the same.
“It has been a challenge, but to me it is worth it to get results”
“I’m working on my speed and the last two strides in the long jump but really, most of the hard work has been done so we’re just fine-tuning at this point.
“Ultimately, you go to training in the morning and then you come home. I’ve moved to a country I don’t really know and that is culturally more different than I expected.
“I’m away from all my friends, family, boyfriend and that’s a big sacrifice, to uproot your life to move to a different country.
“It has been a challenge, but to me it is worth it to get results.”
Sawyers, who won double Commonwealth Youth Games gold on the Isle of Man in 2011, was runner-up as a senior in Glasgow four years ago and admits she has unfinished business.
Since Glasgow, Sawyers has claimed silver at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam and finished eighth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but the Commonwealth Games is a title she has been targeting.
“The Commonwealths are so special because it was my first major championship and it went so well last time,” she said.
“With Team England it’s not about us being different or special or better.
“It’s a nice opportunity to recognise the home nations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but we can all celebrate that together.
“We know a lot of the other athletes from the GB team, so we’re supporting them and they’re supporting us.
“It’s not like, ‘Now I’m English, we’re not friends today because we’re competing against each other!’”
To mark Team England’s foray Down Under, Sawyers, who sang on TV show The Voice last year, teamed up with musician Tokio Myers and Team England partner npower to create a new version of the ‘Jerusalem’ anthem.
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the anthem will play whenever England win gold and Sawyers, who is a singer and song writer in her spare time, has relished the chance to revamp the English anthem.
“I was thinking, ‘How will I do this justice?’” she admitted. “But I couldn’t have said yes faster, I was so excited by the prospect.
“There’s no cheapening of it, and I feel so honoured knowing that my voice is the one you can hear.
“I’m hoping the rejuvenation of the song will help the athletes, and give them an extra reason to go for it.
“It’s funny because as soon as everybody heard it a couple of times they realised they do know it – it’s one everybody loves. It’s a rousing song.”
» Tokio Myers and Jazmin Sawyers have re-recorded ‘Jerusalem’, Team England’s Official Anthem ahead of Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in association with npower – the proud partner of Team England