THE heat hit me as I stepped off the plane and instantly I was reminded why I stayed so long last year in Jamaica.

Instantly all my pain goes. It’s as if I am back in my body BEFORE life with a spinal injury.  

Life is easier here than in London and the people are warmer too. 

As I drive from the airport navigating through the streets of Kingston, I am reminded of the unruly nature of life here. There’s a buzz in the streets which is alive.

There is a danger which comes with them, but that danger is also what gave the world Bob Marley. 

I guess I stand out here so am easy to remember but I was overwhelmed by how many people remembered me and welcomed me back. 

Waking up to the sounds of the sea and the sun bursting through the window I know I am blessed and lucky to be here for the next few months. 

With a call from oncology to just let me know I am okay and to keep living and not to worry about my tumour it’s as if everything is aligning for a solid few months of training in the pool and gym. 

I am still scared to set any hard goals for next year as after 11 years of constant operations there is a certain level of anxiety around setting a target to race.

But in the back of my mind every session here has two objectives, one to improve the quality of my life by getting stronger and the second to get stronger so I can get more power out on the bike. 

It was a shock to the system hitting the water again.

I haven’t swum in 7 months, so a 2000 meters swim felt like a long way after such a long time out of the pool. 

It was also good to get back in the gym and working on my rehabilitation from the spinal cord injury. 

This is something I have not done much of since the 2018 surgery as I didn’t have the mental strength to go through hours and hours of rehabilitation again. 

After paralysis in 2016 I spent 5 hours a day in the gym trying to get paralysed limbs moving and that took lots out of me mentally, so to find a gym that has the atmosphere where you want to spend 3 hours a day is a gift. 

The added bonus here is that part of the gym is outside in the sun and when you throw in some of the Jamaican sprinters it is the perfect set up to find the motivation to work those paralysed limbs again. 

This week I found myself leg pressing next to Yohan Blake on one side and a 70 year old rasta on my other side. Such is the contrast of life here in Jamaica.

The gym is always alive with an energy I haven’t found in London gyms. 

Everyone debating who will be the fastest human alive next year on the track. 

Athletics is more than sport here; it is like a religion. 

For many it is away out of poverty so there is a deep inner motivation that drives them. 

As I drive home from a hard day in the gym, I pass through areas that are poor, but I see a group of kids training with weights in a yard. 

It made me think about the IOC vision of possibly removing boxing and weightlifting from the Olympic programme. 

Two sports that have always been a highlight of the Olympics but two sports that don’t require millions of pounds for people to train in. 

I am sure people would still train in both, but I felt sad that the IOC hold the power over so many kids who compete in both sports and their Olympic dreams. 

I thought of these kids in the yard here who were lifting weights and punching a bag, no gym or fancy facilities needed but a possibility of making an Olympic team which can be life changing if you live in poverty. 

I know if week one here is anything to go by, it is going to be an inspiring few months for me. Hopefully when I leave to come back to Europe I will still be tumour free and stronger.