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Sarah Abrams has put down her shopping bags and started lifting weights again

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Welsh international long jumper Sarah Abrams has put down her shopping bags and started lifting weights again, thanks to Welsh Athletics.

During summer lockdown, the 27-year-old’s gym session consisted of filling a couple of supermarket bags with thick medical books and hanging them off a makeshift bar she hoisted over her shoulders. 

Sarah – a medical student in her final year at Imperial College, London – was reduced to some bedroom training with bright yellow Sainsbury’s bags as her dumbbells.

Ingenious, yes, but not quite as good as the converted garage she is now able to work out from.

Sarah Abrams with her makeshift weights

“I moved into a flat in September to save a bit of money, so I don't really have the space or the scope to be lifting the Sainsbury's bags anymore!” says Sarah.

“So what I've done instead is levelled up this lockdown and hired a garage just around the corner from me. 

“I've been very, very fortunate that Welsh Athletics are going to support me with equipment. 

“Sport Imperial are going to support me with a little bit of equipment as well, so I'm essentially trying to build my own gym.”

During the height of the first UK lockdown, Welsh Athletics posted a video recording a day in the life of Abrams as she combined her medical studies with volunteering on a maternity ward and improvised strength and conditioning sessions in her back yard and bedroom.

“Through the first lockdown I was fortunate that there was a track reasonably close that was open. So running wise we were able to fit a lot in, but what I really lacked was strength work. 

“The Sainsbury's bags were really good and they actually worked really well, but they had their limits to how useful they were and obviously they were quite cumbersome. 

“I was really keen to not lose what I had gained in the last couple of months back in the gym, so I am finding a way around that by trying to pool together as many resources as I can. 

"I think it's good in a way because of the actual process. I decided I was going to do this on Monday and now I have a gym ready to go for today. 

"So in three days I've rallied it and I think it gives me a lot of motivation having done that because it's a challenge and it's a bit adventurous. 

“It just gives a bit of impetus because it's easy to just sit back and think the situation is dire and miserable, everybody is miserable, so having this as a bit of a focus has geed me up a little bit, I guess.”

The Sainbury's shopping bags Sarah filled with her heaviest books to use as weights.

The national indoor long jump champion has praised the all-round support supplied to fellow Welsh athletes by the sport’s governing body during the pandemic.

Abrams also singled out Welsh Athletics' national talent development coordinator for jumps and combined events, Fyn Corcoran, for particular praise.

“I literally cannot put into words how grateful I am,” she said. “I have to give all credit to the whole of Welsh Athletics.

“But in particular to Fyn Corcoran. He's got lots of athletes to look after, he's got his own family to look after, and he is supporting me no end, and all from afar. 

“There are no boundaries for him and I think that is amazing. I feel super-duper supported, even just people checking in to make sure you're ok. 

“But they even go as far as to offer help finding equipment. I don't think there are many governing bodies and individuals who would provide that kind of support. 

“So it makes a world of difference and I do feel really fortunate because I realise I'm not in the best location to be supported by Welsh Athletics, but I don't feel like I am left out, which is really good.

“I really can't stress enough how grateful I am to Welsh Athletics. I don't think I would be able to carry on without that support, so that is really important.

“Fyn does zoom sessions maybe three or four times a week. He has been doing it religiously since March.

“It’s such a good atmosphere, such a good motivation and I don't think I have ever seen him look like he doesn't want to be there. 

“I am sure there are times when he would rather be having a cup of tea and sit in front of the TV or get his own training done, or spend time with his family. 

“He is always there, so enthusiastic and I always think "what an asset". I think it's amazing.”

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