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Johnny Thompson: 'Exercising and walking several miles each day has helped me keep focused'



Johnny Thompson

Johnny Thompson

Johnny Thompson

Johnny Thompson

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Johnny Thompson

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to cricketer Johnny Thompson, who won the league and cup double with Brigade last year.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I am keeping very well at the minute and I can't complain much. I feel I have been able to look after my own health much better during Covid-19 as I am more focused on keeping fit and healthy.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I have asthma so am currently off work for a 12-week period given that I fall within the Category One criteria. Ideally, I would have preferred to be at my work but I am grateful that I have been given full pay and I feel I am managing relatively well being at home. My children, Jay (13) and Ara (5), have been with me every day as my wife, Stacey, is a Key Worker, a Child Protection Social Work Manager, so is going to work every day. This has been tough during these difficult times for her but we have managed well together. I have been able to help our children do their school work which has had its moments! I am definitely not a teacher and am counting down the days until they return to school. It has been difficult on the kids staying indoors and especially Ara as she just wants to get back to school and to see all her friends/cousins.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: Since the beginning of lockdown, I have started to walk six to seven miles each day! I have really noticed how my health has improved and I have been eating much better. My friend, Don Nicholl, has been a real motivator for me and has kept me on my toes. I feel that having no outdoor cricket practice leading up to the start of the cricket season has been a real setback for me and for most of my cricketing friends.

Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: I was hoping to start off this season with my new club Newbuildings and was really looking forward to a new challenge but it is very uncertain if I will get to play at all this year. It is a very daunting and surreal time for us all but I am hoping it will get better. I keep in regular contact with most of my cricketing friends and we speak daily and have lots of banter which keeps us all upbeat. I will be moving to Newbuildings with my good friend Gareth McKeegan and I know we will do well together in the same team. I am hopeful that my cousin Andrew Riddles will also be joining us. I will miss playing alongside my good friend (Brigade captain) Andy Britton but we keep in touch daily and I know he will continue to shine at Beechgrove.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: My wife and kids and family are a real strength to have around me and, whilst I have been stuck indoors for this lockdown, I feel that by exercising and walking several miles each day has helped me to keep focused and in good form. I have done some outdoor work to our home, now that I have had more time.

Q: Sports fans are staying at home, too. Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think they might like?

A: I don't usually watch much TV unless it is football or cricket. I am a big Liverpool fan and will miss not getting to go to games this year. TV has been quite boring without any sports on and I hope it won't be long until I am back in front of the telly.

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: I feel I have learned to focus more on my health and since taking up walking I feel more energised! Family is so important to have and good friends will get us all through this difficult and horrible time.

Q: What is the first thing you will do when this is all over?

A: Get my cricket bat out and hope to smack a few fours and sixes around the field! I am honestly missing cricket so much and cannot wait to be back on the field with my new team-mates and for the new challenge.

Q: And your message to sports fans?

A: Stay safe and hopefully we can all pull through this together.

Belfast Telegraph