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World News

British athlete credits faith in God for overcoming injury and qualifying for Olympics

by Press Association

Abigail Irozuru has credited her faith in God for ending her injury woes and wait for an Olympic debut.

The 31-year-old is preparing to make her Games bow in the long jump in Tokyo.

Her dream is nine years in the making after being left out in 2012, despite making the standard, before a ruptured Achilles forced her to miss Rio.

Irozuru retired after her injury before making the decision to return in 2019 with her faith helping her to reach Japan.

She said: “I do go to church and believe in God and genuinely had a conversation with God and I felt compelled to come back.

“I didn’t want to look back with regrets. I felt so tugged back into it but in my head I was like ‘there’s no way I can put myself through this, it’s torture.’

“I said ‘God, please keep me healthy and allow this time round to be better’. I remind myself of that promise God made with me, or I made with God.

“In 2016 when I ruptured my Achilles, that was the second Olympic cycle I’d missed out on. I thought my dream was done but coming back a couple of years later, knowing it would be a fight, I just had to keep the faith.

“There are moments when I’ve had doubts, my capability and, particularly with the extra year, you question your age and ability to recover but I’ve been so thankful for the team I’ve had.”

A jump of 6.69m at the trials in Manchester last month booked her Olympics spot behind Jazmine Sawyers and they will be joined by Lorraine Ugen when the competition starts next Sunday.

“When I first qualified in Manchester it was relief but now I’m just excited and it does mean so much because it has been such a long, arduous, stressful journey,” the 2019 British champion told the PA news agency.

“Every athlete has a story and a journey but it does make it that bit more precious.

“I want to enjoy every moment as much as I can, despite the Covid chaos because that is important right now.”

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