Simon Jackson Judo Paralympics
Simon Jackson MBE
  An Interview with Simon Jackson MBE
Q How did you get into your sport?
I consider myself to have two disabilities, one is I'm visualy impaired and the other one is that I have to be the best at whatever I do. So when I was 7 my dad saw a local advertisement in a newspaper for a judo class - this was with fully sighted people and I went along, and there was a competition at the end of it and I won the competition. I thought this is a cracking sport because I can compete with people who were fully sighted. So I can do it equally with everybody and so I carried on from there.
Q What do you enjoy most about about your sport?
Winning, and pain. Not my pain but putting pain on somebody else. I enjoy fighting, I do enjoy the fighting bit, competition is everything and I enjoy the training as well. I've got probably an addictive personality for training, I enjoy going to the gym and enjoy going on the judo mats, and like I said I do enjoy the winning. I've not won a paralympics since 1996 which was my third paralympic gold, got a bronze in Sydney, so I've not done as much winning as I used to do; I'm getting a little bit older but I do like to win and that's what drives me on, that's what gets me training because standing on top of the rostrum hearing the medal ceremony, hearing the national anthem is everything and to know that you are the best on that particular day is everything, so is the winning.
Q What does a typical day in your sport involve?
Well it involves quite a lot of pain, because in judo people try and hurt you, because that's the nature of the sport. So, we get up, do a lot of running, we do a lot of gym work and then in the evenings we do 2 hours judo every night, which consists of fighting and also technique training but at the end of the day you have got to do a lot of judo to be a good judo player. So it does consist of a lot of fighting and competing against other judo players.
Q How do you relax when you are not competing?
Just have a crack with the lads really. When you're away you have got no distractions when you're here because you are away from family, girlfriends, wives, mistresses, so you know you just have the crack with the lads, sit round the pool, you know just have a laugh really. It's good, it's good. You never really relax when you're on a camp because you are always buzzing off each other. All the lads always buzz off each other so you don't relax that much but you are not training so it is relaxing to a degree but we are always having a crack, always having a laugh, its good, I enjoy it, I do enjoy it.
Q What do you hope to achieve in your sport in the future?
I hope to achieve the best I can do, whether that's a gold medal or whether that's last place. As long as I do the best that I can do. I've already been 3 times olympic champion and 3 world champion so I proved everything I have to prove, but now I am going to try and prove something to myself, whether I can still do it or not and you know whether I win, if I win it will be fantastic, if I don't win its still ok. I don't want to lose, don't get me wrong, I want to go in and I want to beat everybody but not really for the medal, I want to beat them for me. So you know, as long as I put one hundred percent in and when I get to the competition I give a hundred percent that will be enough for me.
Q What advice would you give to someone wanting to take up your sport?
Well judo is a fantastic sport, it gives you something different, it gives you a way of life. I am not talking all "Japanesie" here, where you start sitting on the floor eating bamboo shoots and stuff but it does it focusses your mind, and you are pitting yourself against another individual person, and you've got to fight that person. It does sound aggressive but its not, because at the end of the competition you shake hands and if you like the guy you go for a pint with him. So it is a good sport, and it gives you a good body, you get good heart and lungs, and you'll live a bit longer, and you make a load of mates as well, and you can have the crack, and if you get to a certain standard you'll get your black belt which is the highest accolade you can achieve and everybody respects a black belt. It doesn't matter where you go in the world if you've got a black belt round your waist around a judo suit, you get respect. Obviously, if you are not very good you don't get as much respect, but if you can dish it out a bit more you get a lot of respect. It is a good sport and I enjoy it, I enjoy the sport, you make a lot of friends, and the friends you make in judo are friends you have for life because you go through a lot. Me and Ben and Ian have been through a lot together because you know we have been under a lot of pressure situations, from when you're training its hard and when you're competing its hard. So the mates you do make will be with me when I'm 65, 70 year old.
Q What have you go out of this trip to Macau?
Its good because now we know the situation, we know the hotel, we know the food, we know where the gymnasium is, we know the judo, so when we come back before the paralympics there is no pressure now. We know everything, we know what to expect. We know what the rooms are like, I know it sounds stupid but every hotel is different and every place is different. So when we come back now before the paralympics we know exactly what to expect. We know when to get our bags, we know where to get our bags. We know we've got to go on a ferry. Its all good preparation, when we come back in the next year 2008 all we want to be focused on is competing in Beijing. Not worrying about is there a gym here, is there this here, is there that here and what's the food like - we know everything now so we can completely and one hundred percent focus on what we've got to do.