Olympic Athlete
Lee Valley Athletic Centre

Olympic Athlete
Lee Valley Athletic Centre

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Jeanette Kwayke

00:00:03 My name’s Jeanette Kwayke. I run the hundred-metre sprint and I’m aiming for the London 2012 Olympics. I’m on six days a week training and three of those days will be twice a day, then you’ve got whole nutrition side, medical side. There are so many elements into making a person run just a few tenths faster. I started running when I was very, very little. You’re looking seven, eight years old in the school playground and it just so happened to be kiss chase. I always noticed that I was faster than everybody else including the boys.

00:00:30 I started competing when I was probably about ten or eleven. The main person that would’ve got me into that would’ve been my primary school teacher Mr. Smith. He’d always encourage me to go out there and run. I was very lazy when I was little but I did like to run fast and I’m ultra competitive. I won my first national title when I was 14 at the all England School Championships, the hundred metres. I was highly trained and I was training like two days a week. So, I knew that, okay, maybe if I was to put a little bit more training in then maybe I’ll be able to probably excel at even higher levels.

00:01:01 I remember getting my first Great Britain International, getting the phone call, and they said, ‘oh, Jeanette, you know, come down, you’ve been selected to run for Great Britain. It’s a trip to France’, and I was actually going to Ayia Napa with my friends. So, I ended up going to Ayia Napa instead of the International but obviously now you learn a lot more and I’ve said to myself, right, you know. As I got to 18, 19 I went to university at Loughborough and you cannot be in an environment like that and not be serious about what you do and for me, that was a major turning point in my life.

00:01:28 I was at Loughborough University on a scholarship so I was very, very blessed to be able to go there, study and not necessarily have to worry about the financial side of things. Going up there I was able to be a lot more disciplined, a lot more focused. I always remembered that, you know, I’m here for a purpose and the purpose is be able to be the best I can on the track. It’s also where I met my coach Michael Afilaka, an amazing man who not only acts as a coach but as a fantastic mentor.

00:01:55 Part-time jobs at university and off the university, I’ve had loads. I’ve worked in retail, offices, cashing cheques late at night. I’ve done everything to kind of put myself in a situation where I’ve always got enough money to make sure that I can do the important things and pay the bills but still have time to train and train well. My friends realize now that, you know, there’s no point calling Jeanette during the season because she’s gonna have to get up jump on a flight Sweden or something to run in two days time. The best thing to do they, they always give me a call in the off-season. I’ve got them there. They all know when’s best to call me to go out and to celebrate and to do whatever. So, you know, they’ve learned to do that.

00:02:33 At the moment the high points of my career would be this year, 2008. Definitely. It’s been my break-through year. I made the Olympic final. I came sixth which technically makes me the sixth fastest woman in the world. It was an amazing experience, you know? My heart was beating for like 48 hours constantly. I couldn’t even sleep. It’s that level of nerves and anxiety that kind of brought out the best in me and I did enjoy it.

00:02:56 No athlete has a straight road to success. In 2005 and 2006 I suffered two major injuries. Because of those injuries I had to pull out of the Commonwealth games which is a shame. I was in Australia. It was never just, you know, Jeanette’s just turned up in Beijing, she’s running really well. It was Jeanette has had heartache from previous years and all that fire and ammunition I had from that is what you’re seeing today and the athlete that I am today.

00:03:20 A lot of people underestimate the power of mental preparation. You need to be able envisage what your actual goal is. If you’ve written it down read it every day. Read it a hundred times a day. I wrote down two of my goals this year and I’ve done exactly both of those. And the first one was to break the indoor British record which I did. And the second one was make the Olympic final which I did and they were both written down.

00:03:41 I was very proud of myself but as quickly as, you know, those things happen you have to get over it because there’s more, there’s more goals to go and get. I take every year as it comes leading up to especially 2012. I’m from East London so to compete at the 2012 Olympics would just be not only a dream come true but something so out of this world it’s almost, you know, my mind explodes just thinking about it. You’re gonna have a hundred thousand people screaming your name to make sure that you do it for, do it for Great Britain.

00:04:11 Yeah, my dad tells everyone, every, everyone every day. He actually had his barber give me a call the other day and I’m like, dad, why am I speaking to your barber? So, you know, he tells everyone. He’s got, my mum’s got all the newspaper clippings. She’s got a scrapbook and everything. So, it’s really nice that my immediate family are just a hundred and ten percent behind me and supporting me every step that I take. ENDS


Jeanette Kwayke is a sprinter and at the moment she is ranked the sixth fastest woman in the world. She is training to compete in the 2012 Olympics. She's always been an amazing runner but she hasn't always been that dedicated. As a teenager she was chosen to run for Great Britain, but went to Ayia Napa with her friends instead.

More information about Sports players

average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

91%  male 
9%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future Employment

Future employment?

? Professional sportsmen and women train and compete, either individually or as part of a team, in their chosen sport for financial gain.
No academic qualifications are required. Entry is based upon talent that can be further developed through coaching and training.
  • Participates in exhibitions, pre-qualifying events, tournaments and competitions;
  • Attends training sessions to develop skills and practice individual or team moves and tactics;
  • Builds stamina, physical strength and agility through running, fitness exercises and weight training;
  • Maintains clothing and other specialised sporting equipment;
  • Discusses performance problems with coaches, physiotherapists, dieticians and doctors.
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