Stepney Green students jump for joy after training with Olympic hopeful
A Commonwealth gold medallist is taking time out from his Olympic preparations to help keep Tower Hamlets youngsters off the streets.
Tosin Oke who won triple jump gold for Nigeria at last year’s Delhi Games held his first training session with Stepney Green students at Mile End Stadium on Monday.
The star athlete, who is relishing competing in the London 2012 Games after growing up in Hackney, is acting as a coach for the Met Police’s Met Track scheme.
Open to young people aged 13 to 17, it is designed to reduce anti-social behaviour and provide a weekly extra-curricular option for students.
Tosin, 30, who is also gearing up for this year’s World Championships in South Korea, said: “For us as coaches, it is not just teaching the athletics.
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“The kids respect sport and they look up to you, so you can also act as a mentor for them.”
Stepney Green student Tahmid Hussain, 13, represents the Ben Jonson Road school at triple jump and videotaped Tosin’s golden moment.
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He said: “I wished I could jump like that.”
His friend, Mahdi Allam, 14, revealed another reason to take on Tosin’s advice.
He said: “Our teacher told us if we ever want to beat Bishop Challoner school in the Borough games, we would have to do some proper training.”
The school has also committed to provide its sports hall on bad weather days when Mile End stadium won’t seem so inviting.
PE teacher Giovanni Giordano said: “This is an opportunity for the children to see that sport is fun and not get involved in life on the street.”
Members of Tower Hamlets police and the borough’s Safer Neighbourhood teams attend Met Track sessions, which run on Mondays from 4.30pm to 6pm.
For further information, visit met-track.com.