How did you get into sport?
It was really down to my older brother who was taken to the sport centre because my mum wanted him to let off some energy. I used to have to go along to watch him and as soon as I was old enough I started a whole range of sports as it looked so much fun. A number of issues meant I couldn’t participate in my chosen sport of Judo during my teenage years, but when I got to 17, I was inspired by the high achievers at my local judo club to return to the sport and strive for black belt status.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- British Champion
- Commonwealth Champion
- Olympic reserve 2008/2012.
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
I saw an opportunity to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in London originally. It was something that was really important to me, as I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t had opportunities in sport. I’m sure that I would have had anywhere near the amount of amazing experiences and the chance to pursue a passion. I wanted to support people like me, from where I am from. This one opportunity opened the door to the extensive work the YST does for all young people to support them reaching their potential, and once i had the taster I was hooked on the power of sport to change lives.
Who most inspired you and why?
When I was young, the other people at my club who were succeeding and achieving great things inspired me to train hard. But I now take inspiration from a wide range of people doing all sorts of things. I surround myself with positive people and people who are passionate and able to achieve amazing things, not taking any notice of negativity. It is how we strive for our goals that makes us the people we are.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
Playing a part in the YST movement that transforms young people’s lives is a privilege. If I had to pick one moment it would be when a boy I had worked with many years previously got in contact to say he was excelling in college and really enjoying himself. He said that he remembered the work we had done and how it had an impact on him. To see him thriving and knowing where he had come from was a really special feeling.