By Oli Dickson Jefford
Yemi Mary John says she has never been more confident after enjoying a red-hot rise throughout 2022.
The 19-year-old from Woodford achieved the biggest result of her career to date this summer, playing her part in a stellar summer for British athletics with 400m victory at the World U20 Championships in Cali.
Earlier on in the year she also raced alongside the best of Britain at the UK Indoor Championships in her debut senior competition, another milestone that proved she was on the right track.
Those results led to her being nominated for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch award – and John admits her successful season has significantly boosted her confidence.
She said: “Two of the most prominent moments this year have been firstly the indoors, my first senior races. That was certainly one of my biggest achievements this year and of course World U20 Outdoors and winning that was definitely one of my greatest achievements.
Remember the name, Mark Swan! The powerlifting star was named winner of @TeamSportsAid's prestigious One-to-Watch award at the charity's #CelebrateTheNext event, supported by RBC. Congratulations to all 10 inspiring athletes who were shortlisted: https://t.co/fvfY2OS5vU pic.twitter.com/3BtzvAzrPz
— RBC Wealth (@RBCwealth) November 21, 2022
“I was just so ecstatic after that, I was really happy with myself. It was just hard work so I felt it was very well deserved because I worked very hard this year to make it happen. I was very happy with that outcome!
“It definitely pushed me a lot, and gave me a lot of self-belief. I think the jump from last year to this year was definitely quite big for me so it definitely motivated me and made me believe in myself that there is a lot more to come.”
Previous winners of SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award, including Tom Daley OBE, Hollie Arnold MBE, Courtney Tulloch and Alex Yee MBE, have already amassed over 50 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, to establish themselves as household names.
🏆 ONE-TO-WATCH AWARD 🏆
It’s time to #CelebrateTheNext with a video of our top 🔟 athletes and their amazing achievements throughout 2022 🤩
The winner of this year’s One-to-Watch Award will be revealed by @xxEbobxx….she won the accolade when it was last presented in 2019 👏 pic.twitter.com/tJM0KkptKO
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) November 17, 2022
SportsAid support has proven vital for John in the early stages of her career, and she hopes it can help her make an even bigger mark over the next few months.
She added: “This last year in particular, I wasn’t sponsored or funded otherwise so SportsAid definitely helped me cover expenses including travel, which is a big thing for me.
“I went from Nottingham to Loughborough every training session last year which was quite a long journey so it definitely helped me cover expenses in that sense. It gave me support from a different entity that wasn’t specifically from anyone at the track - so it was very helpful!
“I just want to keep making my mark in the senior team and establishing myself in the NCAAs, and just become not only the best I can be on track but just the best person I can become, and taking as much from the sport as I possibly can to just develop both as an athlete and as a person.”
SportsAid’s Celebrate the Next event, kindly supported by Royal Bank of Canada, was hosted at Sea Containers House in London thanks to Hogarth Worldwide. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk to find out more.