Interview with Janet: World Masters Championships in Malaga 2018

During this time of year, you can’t help but get involved with sporting events and goings-on. Whether you are working towards your own fitness goals, training for a marathon or are supporting athletes from the comfort of your home; there is no escaping it.

Here at Physicool, we always look at supporting athletes, whether that is through offering advice on our blog, sponsorships or through our cooling bandages and other products. We have recently sponsored Janet Smith who is a women’s Olympic throwing competitor. Starting out as a sprinter, Janet turned to the throwing events when an opportunity arose at the local athletics club and it became her newfound passion. She then joined Windsor, Slough and Eton athletic club and started training to be a hammer/discus thrower.

Once Janet turned 35, she was eligible to throw as a Masters athlete, and was suddenly ranked a World Class thrower. At her first international competition in 2001, she won a silver medal in the hammer. Since then, Janet has won numerous medals in the British Masters Championships and holds British records for two events.

Janet’s best achievement came in 2013 in Porte Alegre, Brazil at the World Masters Championships. She won the Weight Throw (which is similar to hammer but much heavier on a shorter wire) and was 2nd in the hammer; she was very proud to be able to call herself a World Champion!

We have interviewed Janet to give you more of an insight into her life as an athletic competitor.

How did you first get into athletics?

I have always loved athletics, even from junior school.  In my younger years, I was a sprinter but turned to throwing in the early 1990’s.

What was it about throwing events that drew your attention?

It started when I belonged to Worcester athletic club.  I was still sprinting, but the club needed some throwers, so I had a go.  I loved the discus, and when I came back to the Windsor area and joined my current club, one of the top male hammer throwers helped me with the discus.  Women’s hammer throwing was in its infancy, and I was persuaded to have a go.

I loved it, and the rest is history!

How does it feel to be a World Champion?

It was an amazing feeling winning in 2013 in Brazil.  I was really confident going into the competition which really helped me to throw at my best. I have a photo of the medal ceremony in my hallway, remembering the national anthem playing and the feeling of pride well up inside me makes me smile every time I see the photo.

What are the biggest struggles you face during your training for events such as the World Masters Championships?

Injury is always at the back of your mind as an athlete, especially for those of us that have been competing for a few years.  My lower back needs looking after to keep it from seizing up, even after my first world championship.  Having this sponsorship will enable me to get regular preventative sports massage and chiropractic treatment which has an impact both mental and physical on staying injury free until the big day.

What are the dates you’ll be competing and which events will you be entering?

The Championships run from 4th to 17th September 2018.  I will enter the Hammer (4th Sept) Discus (10th Sept), Weight Throw (11th Sept) and Weight Pentathlon (16th Sept). Weight Pentathlon is the throwers equivalent of a marathon! It includes Hammer, Discus, Shot Put and Javelin and then Weight Throw all in one day.

How has Physicool helped you through your training and competitions?

I have been training since November for this forthcoming season.  It isn’t so easy in the cold and dark to get the hours of training in, so I am looking forward to the clocks going forward and it getting warmer. Knowing the team at Physicool are behind me helps to give me motivation when that early alarm goes off. Applying the spray after a hard day’s training helps speed up my recovery and keep me mobile.

I had my first competition of the year this weekend at the Lee Valley Indoor Arena. It was the South of England Championships. As it’s the start of the season I just competed in the shot put today and I won a silver medal, the support of Physicool is already paying off!

What do you get up to when you aren’t training or competing?

I am a keen golfer and have been trying to reduce my handicap this winter ready for the season ahead.  Being a thrower helps to be able to hit the ball a long way, it doesn’t help with the direction though!!

I am a qualified athletics field event official and help at many meetings during the year.  We cannot compete without volunteer officials, so I feel it is important to give back to the sport as well as compete.  I belong to a local running club and take part in training and races up to 10km.

Do you have any special pre-event traditions?

No, I can’t think of any, I’m pretty relaxed on the days before, just making sure I take snacks with me on the day as well as my mascot.  I went to a funfair in Marlow with some of the rowers, Sarah Winckless and Katherine Grainger many years ago.  I won a soft toy tiger on the shooting game.  I named him Richard Parker after the tiger in Life of Pie.  He comes with me to all competitions.  The rowers went on to be very successful so it hopefully will be the same for me following on from 2013.

What advice would you give to any aspiring World Champions?

Always believe in yourself and have dreams. You are never too old to have a go, and that is the wonderful thing about Masters Athletics.

As we said above, we are always looking to help athletes achieve their goals and help with their fitness journey. We have a wide range of products in our shop which can help with any injuries which may be picked up along the way, so don’t forget to check out the rest of our website.

Keep an eye out for our next interview with World Champion windsurfer Tom Squires!

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