City of Norwich Athletic Club's Wesley Matsuka-Williams delighted to put injury woes behind him
City of Norwich Athletic Club triple jumper Wesley Matsuka-Williams believes he has finally put his injury problems behind him after winning the England Under 20 Indoor Championships in Sheffield.
After finishing fourth last year in the event, Matsuka-Williams has endured a difficult 12 months thanks to injuries to his plantar fascia (sole of foot) and knee.
But in his comeback event at the weekend he saved the best until last when, in his final jump, he leapt out to 15.24m to take the gold medal.
“I’m so pleased with how it went,” said the 17-year-old, who attends Notre Dame High School in Norwich. “It’s the first time in a long time that I have come out of a competition without feeling any niggles.
“I knew I could jump well - it’s just been a case of managing my plantar and my knee but I got it right.”
Matsuka-Williams admitted the competition wasn’t all plain sailing though.
“My first jump was awful - it put me in last place and I was starting to stress about my knee,” he said. “I started to worry because I thought I wasn’t going to do myself justice.
“I decided to miss the second jump to give my knee a chance to settle down. There was a lot of pressure on that third jump because I needed to be in the top eight to make it through to the second half of the competition (and three more jumps).
“I managed to do a jump that put me in sixth place so it allowed me to go on.
“I think the fifth jump was my worst so again there was a lot of pressure on that last jump. I was pumping myself up so much before that final jump - I think it’s the first time I’ve ever screamed before a jump!
“I just wanted to do myself justice and not let my mum and dad down as they had come all the way to Sheffield to watch me.”
Matsuka-Williams is now targeting the World IAAF U20 Championships in Finland in July although his focus will be on his A-Levels over the next few months. After completing his studies he will be going out to Pennsylvania State University in the USA to continue his education and further his athletics career after earning a scholarship there.
“I went out to see three different universities but Pennsylvania was definitely my favourite and I’ve been given an unconditional offer from them, which is great,” he said.
“I’m really excited because as it stands I only train three times a week and when I’m in Pennsylvania I will be having six sessions a week.
“I haven’t done much gym work and I think that’s something that will be a focus when I’m over there and that can help take me to the next level.”