Olympic hopeful Julz Adeniran joined Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in Worcester earlier this month at a School Games summit with schools from the West Midlands. The 110m hurdler explains why he is backing the School Games and how he is aiming for selection for Team GB.
As a sportsman at the early stages of my career, it’s quite easy for me to reflect back on my school days just a few years ago and pinpoint the various elements and seemingly innocuous set of circumstances that first led me to stumble upon the 110m hurdles event and have now led to me being an international athlete, labouring daily on the long and arduous path to sporting excellence and Olympic success.
Thinking about what helped me to take this path – or even become aware that it existed – I have to recognise the importance of having the opportunity at school to take part in a wide variety of sports and activities. Furthermore, there was the opportunity to compete in any or all of these sports against other pupils and in regular fixtures against nearby schools. But even more shaping was the encouragement and acknowledgement that I received over the course of competition when I achieved a small success or demonstrated a little spark of potential, as well as the lessons I learnt from these competitive experiences.
Last week I had the privilege of being invited to attend the School Games summit in Worcester alongside Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. It was great to see the buzz surrounding this initiative, which will help to establish the legacy of London 2012, by enabling every school and child to participate in competitive sport, ensuring that our hosting of the event is especially meaningful to young people. This new scheme draws upon many of the elements which have helped me to achieve what I have to date, having only fallen into my sport during my late teens, so it was a pleasure to give my full support to it and I hope to be further involved in the future.
On the day, I tested my skills in a demonstration of the Paralympic sport blind football with local school pupils. We were blindfolded and used footballs with rattles inside. This is a prime example of the inclusive opportunities that the School Games present for young people of all ages and abilities to get involved in a wide number of sporting activities and benefit from the intrinsic values of sport such as teamwork, leadership and discipline.
What was particularly pleasing to hear from Jeremy was how much emphasis there will be on the competitive element of the scheme. Not only will this help to unearth new talent in a wider number of sports and support for youngsters who excel, but it will also help to impart the invaluable lesson of success through failure to our young people and show them how important it is to not to give up if at first you don’t succeed.
The euphoria building up ahead of next year’s Olympics is evident just about everywhere now and with only eight months to go, my training is at its most intense, seeing me practice for six hours a day, six days a week, as I aim to secure my spot on Team GB. I’m currently searching for sponsorship to ensure that I am able to do everything possible to represent Great Britain next summer, and leave no stone unturned in preparation for the Olympic Trials come June.
But I have to admit, my determination to leave no stone unturned was further fuelled by a quote shared with the audience during the summit by a School Games Organiser: “If you think it’s too small to make a difference, then you’ve obviously never slept in the same room as a mosquito!” This sentiment typifies both the ethos of the School Games and my train of thought as we move one month and one step closer to 2012.
Visit www.julzadeniran.com to learn more about Julz’s Olympic quest and follow him on twitter.