Leevale’s Reece Ademola has athletics world at his feet

'It’s always been a dream for me to compete in the Cork City Sports...'
Leevale’s Reece Ademola has athletics world at his feet

Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month for August, Reece Ademola (Leevale AC).

A performance that has moved him to third in the Irish all-time long jump rankings has seen Leevale athlete Reece Ademola honoured with the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month award for August.

Ademola, who has just turned 20, represented Ireland that month in the World U20 Championships which took place in Cali, Colombia. 

There, he opened the competition with a superb effort of 7.83m to smash his Irish U20 record.

That jump moved him to third on the Irish senior all-time list behind record holder Ciaran McDonagh (8.07m in 2005) and Adam McMullen who actually achieved his 7.99m indoors in 2018.

At the World Championships, Reece then held third place until the final round of the competition before slipping to fifth. 

He was overtaken by eventual winner Erwan Konate of France, who jumped 8.08m, and Cuba’s Alejandro Parada, who jumped 7.91m.

On the last of six rounds, Brazil’s Gabriel Luiz Boza and USA’s Curtis Williams edged past him with 7.90m and 7.86m respectively, leaving the Leevale man just 7cm shy of the medals.

Reece Ademola of Leevale AC competing at Tullamore. Picture: George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile
Reece Ademola of Leevale AC competing at Tullamore. Picture: George Tewkesbury/Sportsfile

Speaking at the awards presentation in the River Lee hotel, Ademola said it was a proud achievement to represent Ireland in Colombia.

It was crazy experience, just to be in the green vest was such a big thrill. It happened to me all at once as I was coming out of injuries I’ve had over the past two years.

“I was happy enough with the result, although to be honest, I expected a bit more, but the body didn’t agree. 

"I was third up until the last round but the body decided to seize then, but it was great to move to third on the Irish all-time list.” 

The month before travelling to Cali, Ademola had thrilled the local crowd at the BAM Cork City Sports when finishing third with a jump of 7.68m which qualified him for the World U20s. 

He improved on that the following weekend when he set a new National U20 record of 7.76, which of course he improved massively to 7.83m in Colombia.

ELECTRIC

That performance at the MTU venue is something that will forever stay in his memory, as he recalls.

“It’s always been a dream for me to compete in the Cork City Sports. 

"I used to be a basket boy in the past so to be able to compete there was amazing. The crowds were electric; they were behind every single jump. I did quite enjoy that as in a field event you usually wouldn’t get much attention compared to the track events.” 

Standing an imposing 6’ 9” in height, Reece’s first sport was invariably basketball which he played with Fr Mathew’s, Blue Demons and Neptune before joining Leevale where he has been coached for the past year or so by Liz Coomey.

“When Shane Howard, who I coached, went to the States, Derrick Neff of Leevale asked me if I would take Reece on and we haven’t looked back,” said Bandon native Coomey. 

“I was delighted with his performance in Cali and was only sorry I didn’t travel there as I reckoned if I had he would have come home with a medal.” 

This articulate young man who has certainly the athletics world at his feet is genuinely appreciative of his coach Liz, his club Leevale, his physios and also John Buckley Sports for sponsoring gear.

Indoors this winter is the next target and then next season the European U23 qualifying standard will demand a further step up the ladder. 

After that, the Olympics will be the ultimate goal. I know I’m aiming high, but we’ll see how it goes.” 

 The Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month Award is sponsored by the River Lee, 96&C103FM, The Echo, Cork Crystal and Leisureworld.

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