Talent Cymru player and GB International Jasmine Hacker-Jones, 20, started judo when she was 4 years old after her parents would say she was a ‘wild child’ that needed to burn some extra energy. Jasmine, who has been a full-time athlete for 4 years now, tells us what life has been like since March…

Where have you been based during lockdown and how have restrictions affected your training?  

JHJ: For the majority of lockdown I had been based in Cardiff with my boyfriend until I got a new job in May and moved home to Maesteg. There has been a lot of restrictions due to lack of equipment, but the coaches made sure we could adapt the sessions to suit everyone regardless of what equipment everyone had.

How have you stayed motivated & focused during this time? 

JHJ: Staying motivated has been a struggle for me and there has been days that’s much harder than others but having someone to train with me made training much more enjoyable. My boyfriend would join in on all of the sessions and encourage me to keep pushing on even when I didn’t feel like it, after moving back home there was nobody to join in on the sessions so I struggled a lot more. Constant check ins off some of the players and the staff also really helped keep me on track, the support around me has been great.

Has there been anything new that you have incorporated into your training and routine due to restrictions that you will continue with in the future? 

JHJ: I wouldn’t really say anything new although I’ve had more of a chance to focus on the areas of training that I would tend to just ignore, for example, stretching and yoga. 

What have you been focusing on in the past few months, outside of the dojo? 

JHJ: Outside of the dojo I have been focusing on myself, I have been using this time to do things I wouldn’t normally have the time to do, I got a job so that I can start saving money, I applied to university and got accepted, I have also been trying out new things that I enjoy doing, such as, baking, reading, puzzles and lots more. I’ve really just taken this time to give myself a chance to refresh and prepare for when things return to normal. 

Have there been any positives which you can take from the past two months which you feel has benefited you in the long term, both in sport and outside of sport? 

JHJ: One of the biggest positives that I can take away from the last few months is a greater appreciation for my sport and the opportunities that I’ve had. The time away from judo has helped regain my passion for the sport and made me eager to go back to training. I’ve had lots of time to reflect on everything that goes on within a sport and how much hard work goes into everything, not just from the players but the coaches and support team as well. 

This is going to help me both in sport and out of sport as sometimes you just need to persevere through the tough times and come out stronger on the other side. Also, it will help me look at the bigger picture in every situation in life.

What excites you most about returning to normal routine? 

JHJ: Having a routine again, a routine that is set. I enjoy having set times for everything because it’s good for your mind and body to have structure in your life, especially when it’s the same every day. I’m also excited to get back to training to set new goals to work towards.

And finally, what has been your biggest lockdown Nexflix binge?

JHJ: The Originals and The Vampire Diaries have been two of my favourites!

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