Q&A: Getting to Know Ali Jawad

3 min read

Last Modified 25 May 2021 First Added 14 May 2021

What’s your earliest sporting memory?

Randomly, I used to play football when I was 3 to 6 years’ old. I used to want to be a footballer until I realised you need legs to be one.

Who’s your sporting hero?

Michael Johnson (ex-Olympic sprinter) was the earliest sporting person I watched.

Any advice to the younger you?

Patience. Have patience in the process. Being at that sort of level takes time, so don’t rush it.

What’s the one piece of advice you have for someone looking to become a professional athlete?

Oh wow – erm, don’t take my risks!

Do you ever sneak a midnight snack?

Only on holiday. It has to be chocolate cake, I love anything chocolate – when I’m allowed it.

Does what you eat change when you are in the build-up to a competition?

No, everything is regimented in terms of training and recovery. Competition is like training, so I eat the same.

If you weren’t an elite athlete what would you be?

A politician, I think. I want to be the first disabled, legless Prime Minister!

What would your super power be?

I’ve already got one – super strong!

What’s top of your bucket list?

I want to jump out of a plane.

What’s your greatest disappointment?

London 2012, when I controversially missed out on a medal.

Do you nap?

Personally, I don’t nap because it means I can’t sleep in the evening. In the past I’ve tried napping and I’ve actually felt worse for it. But I know other athletes swear by it – everyone is individual.

How do you relax?

My days are pretty packed, and my breaks are when I eat, that’s when I relax! I try to wind down after 9pm – about an hour before bed.

When did you first believe you could be a Paralympian?

Probably when I was about 11, when I started judo. I did judo for about 4 years and got to a very good level – I had competitive sport in me from then.

Do you have any superstitions?

No but, before a competition I always watch one of the Rocky films.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I don’t know if it’s guilty but I’m a massive Liverpool fan.

What’s your proudest moment?

Probably the silver medal in Rio after everything that happened 4 years previously.

What’s your dream achievement outside of the Paralympics?

Completing my PHD and launching my upcoming fitness app.

What’s your most common night-time dream?

Some sort of gory nightmare.

How important is sleep to you as an athlete?

Sleep is probably up there with training itself. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep you’re not going to recover from your training.

What’s the best way to fall asleep?

Try not to be stimulated mentally before bed – don’t watch anything exciting.

To learn more about Ali, visit his athlete profile.