Top Sprinter Inspires Students
There has been a buzz around the Academy today as Commonwealth 200m Champion Leon Baptiste has been our sporting guest of honour.
The world class sprinter, who unfortunately has been ruled out of the Olympics due to an injury, held a Q&A session with students, took part in a Year 10 sports lesson and then gave an inspirational talk to the Year 10 assembly.
He visited the Academy in a mentor capacity for the Youth Sports Trust and will be returning shortly to take part in some motivational workshops for a selected number of students.
Year 10 student Paulo Silva, who took part in the Q&A session said: “It was great to meet him and we were able to ask him questions on all aspects of his life.
“He has had a number of setbacks with injury but he told us how he never gave up and always came back to try again."
The sprinter gave an inspirational talk during assembly about his road to Commonwealth glory.
He became involved with athletics at the age of 14, after a knee injury spoiled his dreams of becoming a professional footballer and became European Junior 100m Champion at 18.
He told students about the four years in which he struggled to win a race, and then about his decision to give the sport one last chance in 2009. He went on to win the Commonwealth 200m Gold in 2010, beating GB sprinters Marlon Devonish and Christian Malcolm.
Just 10 days ago his hopes of competing in GB team at London 2012 were shattered after he became injured in training.
He said: “It is devastating as you train all winter, but Athletics is one of those sports where things like this can happen.
“There is no chance that it will heal in time as I will need surgery and will be out for six to nine months.”
Last year the 26-year-old sprinter was the second faster 200m sprinter in GB.
During the past few months he has visited a number of schools and said the 2012 games are proving really popular.
He said: “The Olympics are all that students want to talk about. It really has caught the interest of young people and it will be a great thing for Athletics.”
Director of Active Amy Harris organised for the sprinter to visit.
She said: “It has been great for the students to meet an elite athlete who has achieved at the top level.
“His career has not been all plain sailing and he has really illustrated to students what can be done if you have the dedication and passion.”