Athlete Profile: Jake Watson

Jake Watson profile image and Jake Watson pole vaulting

Name

Jake Watson

Course and Year of Study

Engineering Science, 3rd Year

College

Brasenose

Sport

Athletics (Pole Vault)

Club

Telford AC/ OUAC

Highest Competition Level

National/ International

Best Achievement

U23 National outdoor Champion (2021), Indoor Varsity Match record (2020) , 2nd on OUAC all-time list

Short Term Aspirations

Top 3 at BUCS indoors & Outdoors, Outdoor Varsity Record, 1st on OUAC all time list, top 5 in UK championships

Long Term Aspirations

Compete at a major athletics championship (Euros, Commonwealths, Worlds, Olympics)

How did you get into the sport?

The question everyone always asks: How do you get into pole vaulting? The answer is quite boring actually! I was an elite gymnast from an early age, so pole vaulting was a natural progression for me.

How has the Blues Performance Scheme helped you?

The BPS provides pretty much everything a student-athlete needs to thrive and reach their potential. The sports Psychologists, Nutritionists and Strength and Conditioning coaches are world class; and have helped nurture me into the athlete I am today. Every aspect of the BPS is specific to the individual, which is something unique to Oxford and perhaps not received at other institutions across the UK.

What is your advice on balancing sport and academia?

In my opinion, sport and academia come hand in hand! There has never been a time in my life that sport takes the backburner due to academic commitments; and I plan on following this trend for the remainder of my degree at Oxford. That being said, the sports psychology support has been excellent in teaching me the important of a work/life balance, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to balance 6 days of training per week on top of an intense degree without this support.

How have you managed training during lockdown?    

Through various lockdowns in 2020/2021, I have learnt to persevere with my training and adopt different methods I perhaps hadn’t considered previously. After not training at all in the winter season of 2020/2021, I managed to have an incredible outdoor season and improve my personal best from 4.72m to 5.03m (with only a few weeks of training under my belt.) I also won the National U23 outdoor championships and gained the qualifying height for the British indoor championships in 2022. This is a prime example of the opportunities that arise when you persevere - although none of the training I did in the winter of 2021/2022 was relevant to my sport, it allowed me to develop my weaknesses and gain significant mental strength, which became invaluable in the following outdoor season.