Great Britain Long Jump athlete, Abigail Irozuru, joins the BRIT Ambassador family
We are delighted that Abigail has joined our BRIT Ambassador family.
Abigail is a Great Britain long jump athlete and the reigning British Indoor and Outdoor Champion.
“As a former student at UCL, and having worked with young adults and children as a teaching assistant, mentor and tutor, I know that many young adults suffer with mental health challenges. COVID-19 is impacting on all our lives, however I am mindful that it is compounding existing mental health difficulties faced by many young people; especially those who are vulnerable or disabled.
The pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on particular groups in society, particularly those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. One in four young people were unable to access the mental health support they needed during the 2020 lockdown and it is vital that they receive timely support to look after their wellbeing in order to avoid long-term effects on their mental health.
Mental health services have become stretched over the past 18 months and this means more young people are struggling to access the help they need. Charities have an integral role in supporting young adult mental health and The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are striving to collaborate and unite the Education, Sport and Charity sectors to have a UK-wide impact on improving young adult mental health and fitness. The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an exciting UK-wide opportunity for students and young adults to unite wherever they are (at home or on campus) and take part in a fun and feel-good challenge to raise vital funds for charities who support young adult mental health.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is also a great way to take part in an activity and challenge to improve mental health and fitness. It is an inclusive challenge with many different ways to take part. Every UK university, college and students’ union have been invited to embraces the BRIT 2021 Challenge, enter teams and encourage their students and staff to participate. There is no reason why students cannot enter their own teams and there is no limit to the size of a team; this provides the flexibility for every student and young adult to decide how much distance they want to add to their team’s 2,021 mile target before the 1st July 2021.
I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and look forward to encouraging Great Britain’s Track & Field Olympians, Paralympians and athletes to join me. By uniting, we can support young adult mental health in universities and colleges throughout the UK. I look forward to encouraging and supporting students and staff at University College London (UCL) as they take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge”.
Abigail was educated at Bury Grammar School for Girls and between 2008 and 2012, completed her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at University College London (UCL), University of London, that included a year abroad at Aix-en-Province, Aix Marseille II University. Between 2012 and 2014, Abigail worked as a Legal Researcher and Recruitment Consultant in the Associate Division at Macrae Roxburgh Appleby.
Between 2007 and 2019, Abigail taught home schooling and has over a decade of experience tutoring in both 1 to 1 and small group settings. As well as classroom experienced gained as a teaching assistant with primary and secondary schools in London and Manchester, Abigail also has experience as a mentor within a secondary school in North-West London; she regularly visits schools across the UK holding assemblies and workshops to encourage children through her athletic and academic achievements. Abigail’s expertise includes Special Education Needs (SEN) teaching after training and experience gained at a specialised centre in Notting Hill.
Abigail began participating in athletics when she was 14 years old after excelling at a youth athletics match by winning the 100 metres, 200 metres, 4 x 100 metres and the long jump.
This led to an invitation in 2005 by Ian Wiltshire to start training at the City of Manchester Stadium.
In 2006, Abigail won silver at both the English Schools Championships and British Schools Championships where she competed against highly accomplished young jumpers.
Since 2007, Abigail has been an athlete with UK Athletics and her club is Sale Harriers.
After establishing herself as an elite junior athlete, Abigail moved to London to study for her law degree. Whilst at UCL, she worked with John Herbert, UK Athletics’ Head Coach for the long and triple jump.
Abigail was then coached by Larry Achike who helped her achieve 2012 National Indoor Long Jump silver and gold in her first senior international in Bratislava.
Throughout her career, Abigail has suffered various setbacks through injury and has already undergone three major surgeries. Abigail retired in 2016 and then made a comeback in 2019.
One major injury is often enough to end the careers of most athletes, so to come back and still be competing at the highest International level is nothing short of incredible.
Abigail was supported by John Crotty who gave her just what she needed and was there at one of the most difficult stages in her career. It came after her 1st surgery when doubts are often able to creep into the mind. It was John who would be the one to push her to keep going and just not allow her to even think about quitting no matter how hard it got. It was through John being there for Abigail, and his consistent encouragement and guidance, that she was able to turn around any negative thinking into a positive.
Throughout her battles with injuries, Abigail’s faith in God has always been critical to her having the attitude that allowed her to believe she would eventually comeback stronger. After she made her comeback, it was her faith that helped to put the fear of re-injury out of her mind and it was that that has always allowed her to keep smiling, no matter how challenging her circumstances have been.
In 2019, Abigail competed at the IAAF World Championships and the European Championships where she came 7th in both. She improved on her 2012 personal best of 6.80 metres, with a jump of 6.86 metres.
In 2020, Abigail won gold at the British Indoor athletics Championships and is the reigning British Indoor and Outdoor Champion.
Since 2016, Abigail has been a Motivational Speaker, Academic Tutor and Performance Coach with AMPLIFY Learning. She encourages and equips learners on the AMPLIFY program with tools for success to live life to the fullest through thankfulness, positive self-talk and understanding. Abigail motivates and inspires others to help them understand that adversities are simply a key part of life for us to grow and bounce back even stronger.
To find out more about Abigail and British Athletics, please visit the British Athletics website.