British indoor triple jump champion talks of struggle to balance full-time work with training

Three-time British indoor triple jump champion Nathan Fox has talked of his struggle to train and work a full time job as he aims to bring home more medals.

Struggling to support himself,  Nathan, 28, works full-time as a sales development executive while training five days a week.

“The fact that I’m in full-time employment means that I’m not as supported as I would like to be,” Nathan said.

“But it’s difficult because obviously there is just not enough money in the sport in general.”

Nathan’s goal is to reach the final of both the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow and the World Outdoor Championships in Qatar next year. After three major injuries, the next 18 months are going to be decisive for his career.

He said: “I have been on both ends of the spectrum now. Working so hard and then getting to your goal as well as working so hard and then not getting to your goal. I know how both ends feel.”

He believes he can be successful, but the fact that he must work full-time while training means that he needs to go the extra mile.

“Some of my competitors and friends are resting after a training session – I have to be at work,” he said.

He added: “Track and field is 80% mental, 20% physical so if you have your mind focused on the day, it’s anyone’s game, you can be the best in the world. But if your head’s not in it – it’s over.”

GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Nathan has set his sights on future medal wins

UK Athletics is the governing body for athletics in the United Kingdom and offers funding schemes for athletes who achieve a certain standard in their category.

Apart from achieving set athletic goals, young talent is also subject to criteria defined by the UKA panel such as the athlete’s lifestyle and training environment or the athlete’s ability to perform under pressure.

After jumping 16.81m in 2017, exceeding one of the objective criteria to be funded by the UKA, Nathan did not make the programme.

He said: “I see it as being in a funding limbo – you’re too good to quit but not good enough to receive the support based on the criteria that the governing bodies have set.”

The UKA website said: “Athletes whose current profile, in absolute discretion of the panel, does not sufficiently match that of the applicable WITTW model will not be added to the WCP.”

“In order to be added to the WCP, athletes must satisfy the panel that they possess realistic Olympic Games medal potential.”

After struggling to find a sponsor, Nathan created his own brand four years ago together with his training partner.

Their brand ReignSports inspires athletes all over the world by sharing fitness regimes, training routines and nutrition advice, and has and developed into a clothes line.

Nathan said: “This has just shown the power of what you can do by yourself by being a little bit creative, not giving up, and just trying to find an avenue by yourself you can become quite successful.”

In three years, he hopes to be an Olympic finalist, bringing home a medal for GB and the UKA.

The all-time UK under 15’s record holder, 28, said: “Football is prime time and then you have rugby and cricket. Everything else is just fighting for survival.”

He added: “Athletics isn’t one of what you would call the main sports that is being taken seriously in the UK.”

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