What you need to know:
- Through YouTube tutorials, Gloria has been perfecting her skills just like former world javelin champion Julius Yego.
- Her breakthrough came during the 2017 World Under-18 championship held in Nairobi where she jumped 12:48m high to finish in eighth position.
- She looks up to American triple jump sensation Brielyn Rodgers who also specialises in different events including javelin and shot put.
1. What informed your decision to compete in the long and triple jump disciplines?
I began trying out the two while in Grade Five at Mutulu primary school. At that time, most of my peers were interested in track events but I was fascinated by how high long jumpers could leap. I took my practice sessions very seriously and slowly, I began to win medals. In Grade Eight, I managed to get to the national finals, which was really surprising for me and my parents because none of us expected my athletics career to advance that quickly. It was at that level that I won my first gold medal in the triple jump discipline.
2. Which do you think is easier, learning from YouTube or having a dedicated coach around?
I always refer to myself as the Julius Yego of triple and long jump because I spent a good amount of time, especially while in high school, learning from YouTube videos, and it really boosted my performance in the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association competitions. If you have stable internet connection, the tutorials are easily accessible. However, I still prefer having a physical coach because I feel like I need that human connection. Someone to share my frustrations with and who always has my best interests at heart. I think the close proximity can help an athlete perform even better.
3. Lately, we’ve encountered so many cases of sexual harassment from coaches and managers. What’s your experience?
I prefer having a female coach. They treat you more like their children or elder sister rather than just an athlete, and they rarely harbor secret ill intentions. I have a mother-daughter relationship with my coach, former decathlon star Caroline Kola. Most male coaches want something else in return for their services and that could damage an athlete’s reputation or career.
4. What is the highlight of your career so far?
Breaking my own record and moving from 12.99m to a high of 13.05m in the triple jump category in the school games in 2018. This earned me a ticket to the senior category of the All African Games held in Morocco where I ended up finishing at position six in Africa. After that, I felt confident that I had made the right decision to specialise in triple jump. I still compete in the 100m and 200m races, but only in amateur competitions.
5. What event are you currently preparing for?
Now that I have joined the senior rank, I am looking forward to next years' Commonwealth games. I've began training for it, both at home and at the gym because I need to build my muscle strength if I am to beat some of the best in the world. I hope that in 2024, I will qualify for the Olympics.