Colchester’s Jonathan Broom-Edwards insists a cool head in the white heat of a Paralympic final was the key to his first gold medal.
The 33-year-old beat India’s Praveen Kumar and Poland’s Maciej Lepiato in what turned into a three-way shoot-out for T64 gold by clearing 2.10m with his second attempt.
Broom-Edwards revealed he’s worked hard on his mental health since 2016 in a bid to stay cool under pressure.
And it paid off handsomely in the Olympic Stadium, as he delivered on his promise to take gold.
He said: “For the last five years I’ve worked on my head, my mind.
"I practise mindfulness and meditation. Nothing can compare to that environment out there, it’s a whole new level of competition.
"To keep calm is challenging. I did notice myself wobbling a little, but to bring it back, it’s just through daily practice.
"I try to do it to help my mental health as well as stay focused on the goal at hand. I’ve stopped all superstitious rituals because, as we saw with the rain today, anything can happen.
"I just try to keep it as simple as I can with certain cues and be patient with it. I try to make the right decisions - stretching, sleeping on time, eating the right things.
“It has made a big difference, not getting freaked out by the failures."
As the competition progressed, it became a three-way fight for the medals between Broom-Edwards, Kumar and Lepiato.
It had appeared Kumar would win when he cleared 2.07m and both Broom-Edwards and Lepiato failed with their first two attempts.
Lepiato again knocked off the bar with his final effort and settled for third but Broom-Edwards soared over with his and then cleared the next height to put the pressure on Kumar.
The 33-year-old faced a nervous wait while Kumar sized up his last attempt but he again knocked off the bar to confirm Broom-Edwards as the champion.
“I can’t even describe the emotions," he added.
"Just to get it right, at the right time, I’m relieved, elated, excited, crying my eyes out.
"It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.
"I’ve been striving for it, and it was horrible conditions out there for all of us. To keep my cool, get it right when it counted, I’m really proud of myself."
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