Comedy is the remedy for nerves for British triple jump champion

  • The 19 year old became indoor British triple jump champion last month
  • Broke under-23 indoor championship record with jump
  • Also teaches primary school children in her spare time

A 19-year-old University of Manchester student is using comedy improv as a way of coping with the stresses of competitive sport.

On top of her gold for triple jump at the Spa British Athletics Indoor championships, which saw her break the under-23 British indoor record, politics student Naomi Ogbeta also managed to snag a bronze medal at the European Junior Championships in Italy last year.

Naomi said: “I haven’t really got used to it, I have done a couple interviews, I went on BBC Radio Manchester to talk about it. It has been fun and I have enjoyed it, but the media attention has been different for me.”

Naomi is viewed as the biggest prospect in British triple jumping for many years.

She said: “I have won the outdoor championship before but I have felt a bit of pressure coming into the indoor championships.

“People were thinking, ‘is she a one-off’ or whether I could do it again. But when I did win I was so happy, it was actually confirmation that I am good enough to be British champion, and it was not just a one off.”

When she is not studying hard, going through gruelling training sessions or spending time with primary school children teaching them the art of triple jumping, Naomi flexes her comedy chops by attending her university’s improv society, something which gew from her love of acting when she was younger.

With a competition you always have this feeling of  ‘oh my gosh, I have no idea what I’m going to jump today’. That’s what it’s like with improv

She said: “When I started university I really wanted to join a society, but it had to be a society that I could fit around training. I used to some acting when I was younger and I thought I’d try out improv because, with acting I never got the main parts, but with improve, you can create your own main parts.”

With her buoyant personality Naomi took to comedy like a duck to water and says there are similarities with sport.”I think like ‘I actually have no idea what it’s going to be like today, will people find me funny today?’ Every time I’ve done a show it has been pretty successful, and it helps me with my nerves.”

Naomi has completed her winter sports season and is looking ahead to the European Senior Championships to be held in Berlin this summer for her return to action.