Published

28 July 2021

Jona Efoloko has paid tribute to the University of East London (UEL) for playing its part in helping him get ready for Tokyo 2020. A member of the Team GB Men's 4X100 Relay team, he graduated from UEL with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Marketing in June 2021.

Although Jona only found out he was going to Tokyo in July 2021, he had kept up a rigorous sprint training regime through lockdown after lockdown.

The Olympian says,

Through the pandemic, all the gyms were basically closed. However, UEL allowed elite athletes to use their gym, which I am so thankful for.

Will Ashby, high performance sport manager, says, "We are all proud that UEL has been able to help Team GB with support for Jona in a tough training year. We aim to help athletes at every level to progress in the face of challenges. We are so happy to have helped Jona to the greatest stage in sport."

Jona is grateful for the benefits of a UEL Sports Scholarship, especially the access it gave to physiotherapy and the gym at Aqua East.

"It allowed me to continue my program and progress in the pandemic," he says. "With gym being important for sprinters, I'm very thankful for UEL for the support. The staff were so amazing, too. They helped me with my lifting techniques allowing me to further improve."
 
Throughout most of the pandemic, getting to Tokyo was not Jona's target. He says, "I'll be honest, I had the European Under 23s. That was probably my main focus."

Image of Adam and Jona getting ready to run

But running impressively in 100m and 200m races at the Team GB Olympic trials in Manchester in June 2021 changed all that. Jona swapped Tallinn for Tokyo.

Outside sport, Jona has always placed great emphasis on the value of education. He says he is going to the Olympic Games to learn. "Learning what it's like to be on the big stage. Being with Olympic athletes from all over world. Just being able to see how the best athletes work, how their mindsets work, how their routines work. Speaking to people who have been to one, two, three Olympic Games. It's a learning curve."

It's a sporting and learning opportunity that Jona intends to seize. He says, "I can't thank UEL enough."

Qualifying races for the Men's 4X100m Relay start at 3:30am (all times BST) on 5 August. The Final is at 2.50pm on 6 August.
 

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