Rothwell coach's emotional reunion with his Paralympic high jump hero

He helped Jonathan win gold at the Tokyo games

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 10:58 am
Graham (left) with high jump star Jonathan

An athletics coach from Rothwell has had an emotional reunion with his protege after they won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Graham Ravenscroft has coached high jumper Jonathan Broom-Edwards for the past three years and helped him top the podium at the World Championships in Dubai in 2019.

The 33-year-old athlete had only tasted silver at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil - but now he has a gold to show off after Graham helped him to literally rise to the occasion.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Rothwell coach was unable to fly out to the games because of Covid-19 and accreditation restrictions, meaning he had to watch the historic moment on his iPad at home.

And after Jonathan flew back from Japan earlier this month he stopped by at Graham's Rothwell home on Friday (September 10) to thank him.

Graham, 55, said: "It was emotional to see the medal and how much it meant to him.

"We had a big long man hug - it's been a great journey together."

Jonathan, who lives in Milton Keynes, was born with a condition called Talipes Equinovarus, commonly known as club foot.

He approached former firefighter Graham, who had never worked with a Paralympic athlete, to see if he would consider coaching him three years ago.

And Graham, who has many years of experience in coaching high jump, had a harder task after Jonathan had to recover from a painful snapped Achilles.

But the athlete proved victorious in the men's high jump T64 event, landing an impressive leap of 2.10m to see off rivals Praveen Kumar and Maciej Lepiato.

Thirty minutes after picking up his medal he video-called Graham to show it off before visiting him last week to discuss the achievement over a bottle of red wine.

And the next day Graham tasted a win of his own - by showing Jonathan how it's done on the golf course.

Graham, who now spends two days a week in sport and three days a week as a business coach, said: "To watch him achieve what he achieved was incredible.

"It was not a gimme - he went out and did that with the highest stakes in the world.

"I've been over the world with different athletes and British teams who have won medal hauls and smashed records.

"This has, for so many reasons, felt better than any moment I've ever had."