Today I am honoured to feature our youngest little Athletics champion, 7 year old Jessica Jenkinson. So when her mom contacted me, and I read Jessica’s precious story of determination and hope, one question popped up in my mind – are champions born or made? To excel at such a young age, while having so much fun makes me look forward with excitement to follow her journey ahead. This young athlete has defied the laws of medicine, and her story proves the multi -faceted value of sports by the fact that she has overcome heart disease that she was diagnosed with at an early age through being active in various sports. She is no stranger to being number one on the athletics podium, having walked away with many gold medals. She is an all-rounder in individual and team sports. She is a fun loving little girl who loves playing with her school friends and her cats.
Read on to find out more about little Jessica:
Who are you, what sport or sports are you passionate about, and in what year were you born?
My name is Jessica Jenkinson. I was born on 21 March 2008 and am 7 years old. Being an active girl diagnosed with several heart conditions at the age of two months, I believe in taking full advantage of every day and have never let any sickness hold me back.
I am active and love all sports. I currently do athletics, netball and hockey, but athletics is my most favorite sport. There I can show my true potential as an individual and can take the credit for my hard work and determination.
At what age did you start and why?
I started athletics in pre-primary school when I was only 4 years old and was chosen for our school’s A Team hockey when I was in Grade R. I currently also play netball that was only introduced in Grade 1 in our school. I was hooked on sports. Winning my first athletic race was such a great feeling that I wanted it to last forever.
I started sports because I love exercise combined with competition. It teaches me self discipline and enables me to learn to not only be an individual achiever with athletics but also a team player in group sports. It teaches me to embrace my talents and do the best that I can whilst still enjoying it.
Would you like to share some highlights about your own sports events so far?
Besides winning 1st Place in all interschool races in 60m and 80m Girls u/07, the highlights were when I got 1st place in Brakpan Schools in the 60m and 80m Girls u/7 and qualified to run for Greater Brakpan.
I also got 1st place in Greater Brakpan in the 60m and 80m Girls u/7 and qualified to run for Gauteng East.
At Gauteng East I got 1st Place in 60m Girls u/07 and 2nd Place in 80m Girls u/07
Gauteng East is the highest competing level for Girls u/07 and look forward to when I can qualify to run for Central Gauteng and the South African team in the next few years to come.
If you were not going to be involved in athletics, what sport do you think you would be involved in?
I am currently involved in all the sports offered at our school of which athletics is my favorite. If I was not involved in athletics I would surely have remained in our school’s netball and hockey teams.
Tell me a little bit about your home and school life?
I have the best mommy and daddy in the world and have two elder brothers. My oldest brother is in Grade 12 this year and my youngest brother started High school and is in Grade 8. Home is where I feel safe and loved. For me home is the place where I can be myself and would not exchange it for anything. Included in our family are my two cats that I love with all my heart. They are my best friends.
I am currently in Grade 1 in Laerskool Dalview which is an Afrikaans school although I am English. I absolutely love school and my mommy always tells me that knowledge is power and therefore I do my very best in my school work. Being only 7, I must be honest that I do enjoy the breaks and playing with my friends. That is the highlight of my day in school. I also have the best teacher in the school, teacher Annemie De Bruyn. She is a true inspiration for me and thankful to have her in my life.
Tell me about what you like to do to relax?
I love playing games on my Ipad and phone when I am not swimming. I love watching TV whilst playing with my two cats.
What is your favorite food? And who must cook it?
Spaghetti Bolognaise cooked by my mommy and my grandmother’s Beetroot. J
Who is your sports hero in the sports that you are involved in? What have you learned from him / her?
Usain Bolt is my hero in athletics and I have learned that any dream is possible through hard work and determination. Winners never quit and quitters never win!
Name one person who made a difference in your life?
My mommy. She always encourages me to work harder and be the best sportswoman I can be. She is the one always taking me to my practices and making sure my body has all the fuel it needs to perform well. She will always hug and love me whether I do well or not.
For the rest of the year ahead, what are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to hockey season starting in winter and then athletics starting in August but most of all Christmas.
What is your personal favourite motivational quote?
“Winners never quit and quitters never win”.
Thank you so much Jessica for taking this interview. I would like to wish you all the best for the future. I look forward to following your progress and exciting journey ahead. Blessings!