Reece Ademola leaped into the consciousness of Irish athletics fans less than a year ago when he finished fifth in the final of the Long Jump at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.
The young Cork man had been relatively unheralded up until that point even admitting himself that he wasn’t training properly to maximise his potential.
Having had that memorable experience in Colombia where he managed to jump an incredible National U20 Record of 7.83m in the pressure cooker of a global final it began to dawn on him just how good he could be.
The talented 20-year-old now feels he can mix it with the world’s best and makes no secret of his ambitions to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in Paris next summer.
To get there he will have to enter what is essentially unchartered territory for an Irish Long Jumper; consistently jumping over eight metres.
Only one Irish man has broken that significant barrier, Ciaran McDonagh holding the national record (8.07m) since 2005.
Ademola is confident that he will be next.
“I feel like it’s (8m jump) in me, my coach strongly believes I can get the eight-plus jumps,” he tells Irish Runner.
“It’s just about clicking on the day and having a bit more confidence coming up to the board. Everything has to go right.”
The Munster Technological University student knows that should he jump beyond that magical mark he will also be in contention for silverware at this week’s European U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland.
While some athletes can crumble under the pressure of a major final it is something that Ademola clearly relishes and is unphased by.
“There’s this emotion in me. I just want to let it all out. All this built up anger I suppose. It’s hard to explain.
“I definitely feel the pressure and it does help me produce massive jumps.”
Standing at six foot nine inches tall, Ademola has had to deal with his fair share of injuries due to his growth spurts, but now under the watchful eye of coaches Liz Coomey, Alan Keane and Ciarán O’Regan feels he is back to his very best.
Reece Ademola on Team Championships disappointment
While he may have had a bad day and underperformed at the European Team Championships in Poland, failing to register a legal jump, he was quick to put the disappointment behind him.
“Things like that happen,” he explains.
“You’ve just got to learn to move on, put it behind you and just work on what didn’t go right which was the board for me on that day.”
A move to the US could be on the cards in the future but for now he is more than content to live at home with his parents and siblings.
With only thirteen months to go until the pinnacle of the sport, the Olympic Games in Paris, he is prepared to do whatever he can to get there.
“It’s everyone’s dream to make it to the Olympics, make it to a final,” he says.
“It’s always been a dream for me to head out there and do my nation proud.
“It’s on the horizon.”