Meet InterHigh's school ambassador - Colin Jackson

Former athletics legend, Colin Jackson CBE, was recently appointed InerHigh’s school ambassador. We spoke to the former 110m hurdles double world champion and record holder about his new appointment and what he hopes to bring to the role.

What prompted you to accept the offer to become InterHigh’s school ambassador and get involved?

“The first thing you’ve got to do is make sure you have a real genuine fit to any challenge or any task or any thing you take on. This is one of the things I’m quite adamant in. Anybody who has represented me will truly know that I will not get involved in anything that I don’t believe in. That’s the first thing. Added to that, I don’t lend my name to things, I have to be part of things. So, for me it’s really important that yes, you’re an ambassador in that sense, but you’ve got to feel like you’re on the ground and that you can be part of it. For me I want people to really use my resources and really pull on my lifetime experiences and what I do and not just be a mouthpiece.”

InterHigh works with a lot of elite athletes, would you have liked it when you were in school?

“It would have been incredible. Especially when I was a developing athlete at 15 or 16 and going on, to know there was something like InterHigh where I could have just been able to keep my education going for that period where I felt that I wasn’t going to miss out. I think that’s one of the most crucial things that we’ve got to always remember is that when you’re young and you’re being educated you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out because you have other things to do as well and other things that you want to achieve in your life. So, education for me is a real important part and it’s the starting point of your life and your life experiences, so make it right and you should really feel like you are doing something that it right for you."

You are a very proud Welshman and won two gold and two silver medals for Wales at the Commonwealth Games during your sporting career, how important is it to you that InterHigh is Welsh and has Welsh roots?

Wales is always very much in my heart. I am very much part of Wales. I live in Wales still even though I could live anywhere in the world, but I choose to stay home. So, I’m very proud of any business that sets up and works and really has that real essence of being Welsh at their heart and their soul is just perfect. So, for me, I feel, very much I’m part of it. We’re from the same place and that’s what makes it so much better and exciting for me.

You talked about the importance of a perfect fit earlier. Obviously, you are from Wales and made an impact globally and InterHigh is doing exactly the same. It started in Wales and is making an impact globally.

Yes, that’s exactly right! That’s the exciting bit of it. And there are huge direct analogies in that sense in sport and education, because when you are trying to improve in sport you are constantly being educated. If you’re not educated well at the very beginning, then you are going to struggle to really find out and learn and be receptive to other forms of education. I think this is what’s really great about InterHigh in that sense because it allows that to happen. Good basic teaching at the beginning that sees you through.

Yes, because your event, the 110m hurdles was very technical so I suppose good teaching from coaches was crucial?

Yes, one of the things you end up doing in our event (the 110m hurdles) is that lots of things you have to do in your own time. There’s lots of training with a coach but then when you start to process what you want to do in a training session or what you have to do in a competition, you are very much on your own. You then have to rely on excellent teaching, coaching you received previously to see you and guide you through there and then you add your little spice. So that’s the real tightness and the closeness between sport and education in that sense and certainly with InterHigh and my event, hurdling in that sense. You have the great teaching initially, you have an oracle, and then from that oracle you then deliver what you do.

Going forward, what are your hopes for the role? What do you hope to achieve?

The most important thing is to inspire. If you can inspire, you start then to motivate. Once you start to motivate in a genuine environment, it allows youngsters to have aspiration. If you can have that real aspiration, then you can see that the world is your oyster and you can just take on those challenges.

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