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Abazz Shayaam-Smith; Triple Jump

Hi I am Abazz Shayaam-Smith. A first year Geography student here at UCL and an international triple jumper. This hobby turned possible career direction has become integral and central to my life, to a point in which training has become a lifestyle. This wasn’t always the case, as I originally started out as a long jumper at Birchfield Harriers club in Birmingham in 2015. As time went on and I grew, my former coach soon realised my height and range would be better suited to triple jump.

Since moving to London in September finding and maintaining a schedule which balances my academic studies and training life 50:50 has been incredibly hard, up until recently. Also, I have found it requires a great deal of sacrifices both physically, socially and financially which further requires more discipline to stay motivated. I wake up every day at 7.15am or earlier to do some activation exercises, stretch and catch up on any work I couldn’t finish the previous night before. As I train in the afternoons extending to late evenings it reduces my time to study as I must ensure good sleep for recovery to be able to train the next day, something which I didn’t realise was so necessary as a student-athlete. I train five days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with Wednesday and Sunday as rest days. During the week I start training at 4pm, usually studying on the train there and back, to then finish at 8pm but this depends on the session type – this can range from running mechanics, weights, jumps, plyometrics, sprints and general conditioning.

My recent achievements have extended to indoor and outdoor National champion, National schools champion, UK number 1 and GB junior representation. Academically my greatest achievement thus far has been achieving A* in Geography (my subject of scholarship) which was incredibly hard to revise for during competition season (May to September). I aim to achieve at a high level in both my degree and my sport – despite the difficulty of managing both they go hand in hand and provide me with a time away from the other.

UCL elite athlete programme has supported me more than I could have hoped for; from a well led team delivering specific expertise not only my individual sport but others too. Combining the assistance from the sports psychologist, physiotherapist and even the coordinators Tiahan and Katie I have been able to train to a high level. Without this service I am sure I would have struggled in terms of injuries, S&C, finance and lifestyle. I hope to put this all to good use and move forward to the outdoor athletics season in May from my season opener at BUCS and on wards.