Damon Sansum ()Damon Sansum () © Copyright

24 hours till you enter the ring

Taekwondo champion Damon Sansum tells us how he prepares to take down his opponents.

10am

Preparation starts when I walk to my weigh in. I fight at 80kgs and I’m around 79.7kgs. It takes an hour or so because I’ll be queuing up with other fighters in my weight category.

11am
I’ll have the post weigh in hydration kit my nutritionists has given me in my bag, so as soon as I’ve weighed in, I’ll spend an hour drinking to rehydrate. It’ll have everything I need - electrolyte drinks, protein and carbohydrate sachets and shakes.

12pm
I’ll be starving by this stage so I’ll go straight back to the hotel to have an early lunch. For me to make weight, I will have cut carbohydrates for a couple of days so I’ll need to stack it back up. I’ll have rice or pasta, meat and probably some bread too.

1pm
From lunch, I’ll go back up to my room and I’ll have to have a nap for around an hour and a half because I’m not used to being so full. It’s the classic case of carb-coma [laughs].

2.30pm
After my little sleep I’ll put on my compression suit to help the blood flow to my muscles and have a stretch session and chill out.

 

Damon Sansum ()

 

3.30pm
The performance announcers will inform me that the draws are out and I’ll find out who I’m fighting the next day. Then I’ll go to my coaches’ room and we’ll talk through some tactics and watch some footage of my opponent.

4.30pm
I’ll spend an hour with my sports psychologist and we’ll speak about how I’m feeling about the day and any thoughts I have. It might be specific about an opponent where I think ‘the last time we fought he was really defensive and I got frustrated,’ so we’ll talk about it so I am aware of it

5.30pm
I’ll go back up to my room and switch off from it entirely for the rest of the night. I’ll be sharing with a teammate so we’ll have a chat, watch something English speaking on TV if we are in a foreign country and have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

7pm
I’ll head down to the restaurant for dinner with the team. Because I haven’t been eating for a few days, my stomach will have shrunk so sometimes I’ll eat only a tiny bit and feel full and sick so I just pace myself. I’ll have a generic plain meal like chicken, rice and some steamed vegetables.

8pm
After dinner if I’m in need of any treatment or I have any niggling injuries, I’ll go see the physiotherapist for about half an hour to sort it out .

8.30pm
I’ll be back up to my room getting my bag ready for the next day. I’ll pack a couple of suits for the day, all my pads and protective equipment, my accreditation and I’ll pack in five t-shirts to warm up in because hopefully I’ll have five fights that day.

10pm
Bedtime is 10pm and because I’ve talked to my coach and my psychologist I can pretty much sleep straight away. I’ll be watching the telly or on social media and I’m able to drift off pretty quickly.

 

Damon Sansum ()

 

Competition Day

7am
I’ll have set my alarm for around 7am if I am on first fight and I’ll wake up, freshen up, put my tracksuit on, make sure I have all my gear and go down to breakfast.

7.30am
I’ll have cereal, a croissant, a coffee and an orange juice so nothing too massive. I’ll pack a few pastries because we are at the venue for a fair few hours. I’ll pick up the pack lunch they provide for us and get on the mini bus to go to the venue

8.45am
I like to get to the venue a good hour and a half before my fight and as soon as I get there, I’ll start my warm up—I start with light taekwondo specific movements, some stretching and a bit of jogging to get my heart rate up and warm up my muscles. Then I’ll grab my coach and start kicking fast in short, sharp rounds with combination kicks just to make myself feel good and to get into the zone. I’ll finish off with some blocking with the pads to make sure I’m covering is on point and some feel good sharp kicking.

9.30am
When I’m finished, I get straight into my Taekwondo suit, put my belt, pads and my electronic socks on and make sure I’m ready to go. Then I get called over by the officials to get my kit and all the electronics checked. I’ll get given my body armour and my coach will help me to put on while I keep myself relaxed and joke around with him.

9.55am
You get called up with the flag of your country and a banner with your name on it and I’ll start moving around and doing a couple of jumps to get ready for the fight and get into my serious zone. I also like to splash water all over my fast and my neck so at this stage I’m soaking wet, which is a bit of a habit of mine.

9.59am
I’ll bow to my coach, put on my head guard, turn around and fight.

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