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My top 5 sporting heroes: By Dubai personal trainer Jonny Young

Words by Rob Chilton

The fitness entrepreneur picks his favourite stars from tennis, boxing and elsewhere

After graduating from St Mary’s University in London with a degree in sports science, Jonny Young became a certified personal trainer and elite sports performance coach. With a background in karate, boxing and athletics, this entrepreneur founded Fitness in Dubai and talks about wellbeing on Dubai Eye radio. Here, he speaks to EDGAR about the athletes who inspire him with their dedication and talent.

1. Roger Bannister

His achievements were revolutionary in both middle distance running but also in psychology. He was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, which scientists said was impossible for a human being to do. What I love about Roger is that, although many sceptics thoughts his attempt was futile, he ignored those who doubted him and believed he was capable of achieving the impossible.

Roger Bannister

2. Jonny Wilkinson

A true English rugby legend. Jonny has had more injuries than the rest of the country but when he was fit and on the pitch – wow – he was in a league of his own. What I loved about Jonny was that he was a winner. I can remember watching him take the winning kick in the 2003 World Cup (below). There must have been an unimaginable amount of pressure on his shoulders and not many men could deal with that stress, but Jonny was born a champion.

Jonny Wilkinson

3. Muhammad Ali

I was going to omit the greatest of all time from my list to avoid being predictable, but my heart wouldn’t let me do it. Muhammad Ali changed the world with his charisma, confidence and sense of humour. He was a people’s champion through and through. It only takes a quick YouTube search of his name to inspire you to get up and better yourself – a true sporting legend.

Muhammad Ali

4. Usain Bolt

I was privileged to meet Usain Bolt in the UK as he used to train at my university track at St Mary’s in London. He is one of the nicest, most humble men I’ve ever met. Not once have we seen him straight-faced, hyper-focused or tense. He used to start races laughing, dancing and fist-bumping, before destroying a world record or adding another Olympic gold to his collection. His focus was first and foremost on the crowd, which was something I’d not seen before in an athlete and I really admire that. It shows that when you’re doing something you love, you can have fun and enjoy it.

Usain Bolt

5. Roger Federer

This man needs no introduction and is, in my opinion, the greatest tennis player of all time. I believe he is truly a legend because he has been such a classy winner throughout his entire career. Roger Federer is a true gentleman on and off the court.

Roger Federer

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