KUDOS went to meet up-and-coming triple jumper Charlotte Ogden, and discovered a laid-back and mature approach to balancing the rigours of sport, studies and social life.
The ever-evolving nature of sport means there has always been, and will always be young talent coming through the ranks. 18 year old Charlotte Ogden certainly falls into that category, but while she is dedicated, disciplined and ambitious, Charlotte hasn’t hung her hat on becoming Olympic triple jump champion. It’s a great way to manage expectation and pressure – she is naturally gifted, one of the very best in her age group in the country, but she is well aware of the long and bumpy road that lies ahead.
Where it all began for Charlotte and overcoming her fear of competition
Aged just 6, Charlotte joined a local club called DASH Athletics (now merged with Stockport Harriers). The little tomboy took to athletics naturally, but nerves and a fear of competition meant she didn’t begin competing until she was 12.
My coach always wanted me to compete, and so did my parents. I remember my Mum taking me to a sportshall competition when I was 12 and I just turned up, cried and didn’t compete at all.
At around the same time Charlotte began train regularly under the guidance of a coach, with whom she remained until she went to university in September. Initially specialising in sprints and long jump, Charlotte excelled.
I was originally doing sprinting and long jump – you can’t do the triple jump until under-17s as it’s such a weight-bearing sport.
I took part in a competition at Stockport Grammar School three or four years ago and for some reason I got put in for the triple jump. I went back and told my coach what distance I’d jumped and he was like “That’s really impressive”, and so it just progressed from there.
Charlotte achieves consistent success through the age groups
She’s not wrong. Through under-14s, 15 and 17s Charlotte maintained a remarkable consistency, winning a whole stack of sprints and long and triple jumps at meetings across the north of England. Her success continued into the under-20 age group, in which she has competed for the last two years and has one more season to go before stepping up to under-23.
With a healthy disregard for age groups, Charlotte qualified for the senior British Indoor Championships in 2014, but was left gutted when she was ruled out due to injury. Her victories and achievements over the last three years are too numerous to mention, but a bittersweet 3rd place in the English Schools triple jump last July stands out having been in 2nd place all the way only to be pipped in the very last round without a chance to respond.
In the same competition Charlotte ran the 2nd leg in a brilliant 4x100m relay victory. It is her natural speed that underpins her excellence in the triple jump.
Balancing a commitment to training with studies and a normal student social life
Last month Charlotte went to study Human Biology at where else but Loughborough University, England’s premier sporting academy, where she is now coached by Femi Akinsanya – former coach of triple jump star Phillips Idowu. With such luminous foundations in place, Charlotte has everything going for her but she refuses to put herself under too much pressure.
When I came to uni at Loughborough I had the option of staying in athlete accommodation but I wanted to have a balance between my training and my social life
Charlotte trains six days a week – comprising three days of running-based training, two days of weights and one day strength and conditioning.
It’s a demanding schedule, not least with university work and play to consider, but her belief in balance is a refreshing outlook for one so talented. It would be easy to become overly fixated on athletics, but as things stand Charlotte can see the value in not restricting herself – or her student social life – too much. Before training started in earnest, she enjoyed Freshers’ Week – and why not – but has had to sacrifice some nights out since.
Everyone was going out in Nottingham one Tuesday recently, but because I had training on the Wednesday…no, I don’t think so!
Charlotte’s pragmatic approach stands her in good stead for the future
But her easy-going approach is not to say Charlotte doesn’t have ambitions. Her target is to represent GB Juniors, compete at international level and take it from there. But while this interviewer was getting giddily carried away with talk of possible Olympic ambitions, Charlotte was quick to add a dash of pragmatism.
Obviously that would be amazing, but one step at a time!
The next big one is the Loughborough International Athletics event in May next year, and KUDOS will be keeping tabs on Charlotte’s progress. We would like to wish Charlotte all the very best in both her athletics and her studies.
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