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CJ Ujah keeping calm and focused ahead of Olympics

CJ Ujah keeping calm and focused ahead of Olympics
© Reuters
CJ Ujah is running in the 100m for Team GB in Tokyo.

CJ Ujah has revealed he turned to meditation because he wanted to find more compassion in his life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Team GB sprinter, who is in Tokyo preparing for the Olympics, now listens to a Buddhism audio book and meditates daily.

Ujah 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.

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Daniel Talbot, Adam Gemili and CJ Ujah after winning gold in 2017
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Daniel Talbot, Adam Gemili and CJ Ujah after winning gold in 2017 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Since then Covid-19 has gripped the globe and the 27-year-old wanted to make a change in his life.

"I looked at Covid and said to myself I could make it a negative situation or a positive one. I drew the positives," said Ujah, who will run in the 100m and 4x100m.

"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."

Ujah is a 28-1 outsider for the title with American Trayvon Bromell favourite ahead of South Africa's Akani Simbine.

Bromell has run the fastest time in 2021, 9.77 seconds, but with Christian Coleman serving a ban for missing drugs tests and no Usain Bolt, who has won the last three 100m titles, Ujah believes it is too close to call.

Trayvon Bromell will start the event as favourite
Trayvon Bromell will start the event as favourite (Tim Goode/PA)

He said: "I understand in terms of the aspect of favourite but he's never gone to the Olympics in this position. I wouldn't call anyone a favourite.

"In terms of consistency you can say he has run the fastest time this year but he has been beaten this year. It's not like a Bolt where you just say 'who's coming second and third?' If you get to the final it's anyone's game.

"No-one has two heads. We all have to race and compete for it."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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