Lorraine Ugen - Britain's number one
World number one Lorraine Ugen will head to Berlin in fine form as she comes off the back of an Athletics World Cup win at the London Stadium this month.
The team captain won the long jump with a leap of 6.86m as Great Britain finished the inaugural competition in third place, behind Poland and winners USA.
The 26-year-old set the long jump world lead with a jump of 7.05m at this month’s British Championships and she also stood in to win Commonwealth Games relay gold for England in April.
Ugen has truly taken off in recent years, producing consistent long distances on the sand and will be one of the favourites to finish on the podium at the Olympic Stadium this August.
The European Championships spoke to Ugen as she prepares for the European Championships in Berlin.
You joined the 7-meter club at the British, how did that feel?
It felt great, it’s something that I felt like I could do, I was definitely capable of, it was just a case of seeing when it was going to happen. So it felt good to get that jump out there and do it multiple times.
How was it leading the team out at the London Stadium for the inaugural Athletics World Cup?
Definitely, it was great being the team captain at the London Stadium and kind of setting the example for the rest of the team by winning and I think the team as a whole did pretty well as well, but it was a really enjoyable experience. I thought the event was great, there was a good turnout of crowd, there was a great atmosphere and it was at home and it’s just a nice meet to add to the calendar.
Are you looking forward to competing at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin again?
For sure, I’ve competed there once a year and it’s a great stadium, but regardless of the stadium once you get to a European Championship you’re ready to go, regardless and I think it will be a really exciting competition.
Your season is gaining real traction at the moment, you must be extremely confident at this stage of your career?
I feel like I’m starting to get more confident in being able to produce multiple world class jumps throughout the year, so I’m looking forward to continuing that throughout the rest of the season.
What would be the minimum for you going to Berlin?
I’m not really setting myself a minimum or maximum, with regards to distance I’m not really setting expectation on my distances, just hopefully my best. When it comes to my goals obviously I want to leave with a medal.
Looking beyond Berlin, what are your expectation for the season and then after that?
I’m looking to build my confidence and my distances in this season and really just set myself up for the next few years and try and replicate these kind of performances and distances for the next two seasons. I feel like I have a really good chance of doing well at the next Olympics and the next World Championships.
What do you put it down to, you’re putting in more consistent performance, is it experience or a change in training?
I think it’s a combination of a few things, it’s a combination of just continuing to build my speed a lot more and get down the runway a lot faster, sorting some things from my technique and also just being more relaxed, not putting as much stress on myself, I wanted to just start enjoying competing more and just having fun and not being so serious with it and just focus on enjoying what I’m doing and competing and enjoying the process now. I think that is really starting to pay off for me, instead of stressing myself out about competing, I’ve been really focusing on training and letting it come out in competition as it wants to, and I think that has really helped me.
What part of your technique are you still focusing on and can improve on?
Yeah, my landing is still a bit crazy, but it’s better! In the sense that I’m not dropping my foot, I think in 2015 I was basically jumping 7 meters but dropping my foot every single time too early and it was cutting my jump short. This year I’m not dropping my foot as much but there is always so many things you can work on with your technique I don’t even know how to explain it. But definitely the dropping of my foot has stopped.
Who do you think will be the strongest competition in Berlin?
There’s so many world class people that compete in Europe, I feel like a lot of the world class jumpers are in Europe, especially the German girls, Spanish girls and even the British girls, it’s going to be a really interesting competition because so many people are jumping far right now and no one knows what’s going to happen.