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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 States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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