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South Euclid 12-year-old boy competing in 'American Ninja Warrior Jr.' finale

Nathanael Honvou says he felt the pressure from also winning his age group last year.

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — Nathanael Honvou is no joke! This 12-year-old boy from South Euclid is making another run at a winning title in the American Ninja Warrior Jr. competition.

The season 3 finale airs Thursday on NBC's Peacock streaming service. Honvou won in his age division, 9-11-year-olds, last year in season 2. Back then, he told us he had dreams of making it to the Olympics and dedicated his win to his mom.

But his first goal is winning his age group this year. Nathanael turned 12 just a few weeks ago, and says the pressure and excitement of winning his age division last year definitely carried him through this season.

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"I feel like I was definitely more strong this year because as you get older, obviously you get stronger if you keep training. But there was definitely a big mental aspect of it," he says.

He was excited to compete this year in full force on the course in California, pretty much uninterrupted by COVID-19 this season. But he says being out there feels more surreal as well.

"I was really nervous every time I got up to the starting line as I was about to compete because I have a title to defend so I really have to do well," Nathanael says.

In between seasons, he's competing in his back yard Ninja Warrior course he and his dad put together themselves. But he says no matter Thursday's outcome, he'll definitely be back next season.

You can watch the finale on Peacock Thursday morning.


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