Nigerian-born British sprinter, CJ Ujah is picking positives from a scare of coronavirus infection that almost kept him out of the Olympic Games and the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic put the competition on hold for a long time.
Megasportsarena.com reports that, rather than sulk over the long delay before Tokyo 2020 finally gained ground to forge ahead, Ujah declared that his thoughts now are only focused on how to excel in The Land of The Rising Sun.
However, the ambitious sprinter, whose full name is Chijindu, revealed that he turned to meditation because he wanted to find more compassion in his life amid the coronavirus pandemic
Ujah, who will run in the 100m and 4x100m, is a 28-1 outsider for the title in Tokyo, as he will have to edge aside America’s Trayvon Bromell and South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who have both enacted some stunning form in recent time, but he is keeping calm and focused.
The Team GB sprinter, who now listens to a Buddhism audio book and meditates daily, missed the World Championships in 2019 with a back injury, having previously helped Great Britain to the 4x100m world title in London two years earlier.
Ujah was born in Enfield, London and the fast-pacing athlete, who has an older sibling, attended St Matthews CE Primary School as well as Bishop Stopford’s School, after which he went on to study at Sir George Monoux College.
At the sixth form college in Walthamstow, he took up Science and Maths, but he is currently a sport science student at Middlesex University in London and is the fifth British sprinter to break 10 seconds for the 100 metres, as well as the youngest to do so.
As of June 2014, he was ranked first on the all-time European under-20 list, and third on both the all-time British list and the all-time European under-23 list for the event with a fastest time of 9.96 (with a +1.4 tailwind), achieved at Hengelo, Netherlands on June 8, 2014.
In 2013, he became the European Junior Champion in the 100m, but he failed to make the final of the 100 metres by 0.01 seconds at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but the hugely ambitious lad, who is coached by Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, made hay in the relays a year later.
He ran the first leg in the 4 × 100 metres relay for Great Britain’s gold medal winning team at the 2017 World Championships in London and, two weeks later, won his first global individual title, winning the 2017 IAAF Diamond League title over 100 metres in 9.97 seconds but the 27-year-old now says his biggest target at Tokyo 2020 is that he just wants to make a change in his life.
Ujah recounted: “I looked at Covid and said to myself I could make it a negative situation or a positive one. I drew the positives.
“There are our jobs but when Covid hit you realise there are more important things like our families and friends, people are suffering and people have died.
“It was a sense of compassion to meditate and realise what is important. This is my job and I love it but I want to be in touch with the real world.
“It doesn’t kill you to be nice to people. You don’t know what they are going through, this world has faced a tough battle and if I can add my two pence of being nice to someone it doesn’t hurt.
“I meditate every morning, it’s part of my routine. I spend a lot of time meditating and praying, those are the two things I do in the morning. It helps me remain grounded and focused.
“It’s 10 minutes every day, a state of breathing, feeling relaxed. I started this routine in January and felt a lot better for it.
“I listen to Mindful Compassion, an audio book, which looks at Zen Buddhism. It helps me remain calm in situations where you may not be so calm.
“The 100m happens so fast but in that time that is when you have to have a calmness. It’s a bit of an oxymoron to be so calm in something so fast but you have to remain calm even though you are moving so fast.”