New Skills for Nugent - Jockey Learns Russian in Lockdown

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Written by: JETS News | Posted 31 January 2022 11:32

Whilst some people binge watched Netflix or started making sourdough during the Covid lockdown, Jump Jockey Hugh Nugent took up a rather more unusual and challenging occupation of learning Russian which he has continued to study and is now preparing for a second set of exams this summer.

Commenting on his new skill, Hugh said “Three years ago, if someone had told me I would be speaking Russian, I would have just laughed. It is a hard language to learn but I have really enjoyed the challenge.”

Having got to know some Ukrainians whilst working for Venetia Williams and asking them some questions about Russian, Hugh decided to use the extra time he had on his hands to develop his language skills. Starting off just working by himself at home, Hugh then found a tutor in Herefordshire and, with the help of JETS funding, carried out his first set of exams last summer. He is now working towards his next Certificate level of TORFL (Test of Russian as a Foreign Language) qualifications with the Russian Language Centre.

Commenting on developing a skill away from riding, he said, “It’s hard to fit something else in around your riding but learning a language is possible, especially in quieter periods. When I’m in the car I’m constantly listening to Russian and it’s been really great being able to speak to Russian speaking staff at the various yards where I ride.”

Whilst Hugh has no specific plans to use his language skills in the future, he hopes it will come in useful: “It is a fairly niche skill and I’m sure it will help in the future at some point. It’s also been a big help to have something else to focus on outside of the racing bubble which is easy to get wrapped up in so it’s good to have something on the side especially when the racing isn’t going well.”

JETS Personal Development Manager Phil Kinsella said, “Hugh has shown great commitment to his Personal Development and his enthusiasm for learning Russian has been great to see. We know the positive effect that learning about other things and undertaking training has on your personal and professional life and Hugh is a really inspiring example."

For anyone interested in developing a skill away from racing, please contact Lisa or Phil at JETS who can help you with course and subject choices as well as funding.  For different career case studies, please visit our Jockey Stories section. 

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