Olympic champion inspires rising stars as athletics club reopens
- Credit: BFTTA
Rising track and field stars were inspired by an Olympic champion as an athletics club in Dagenham reopened after months of lockdown.
Newham-raised former Olympic, World and Commonwealth gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu visited Be Fit Today Track Academy (BFTTA) when 49 young athletes returned to Jim Peters Stadium in Mayesbrook Park.
The England Athletics-affiliated club has been closed since early January when the nation went into lockdown, but outdoor leisure and sporting facilities were allowed to reopen as of Monday, March 29.
Club chairman and head coach TJ Ossai said: “It was very exciting to see the enthusiasm from all the athletes across all the age groups.
“Having an Olympic athlete in attendance was a great way to restart the club after a long pause. The athletes needed motivation and inspiration.
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“It is so key to have them all active again and happy. Huge appreciation to Christine who gave up her time.”
Athletes aged from six to 21 were there on the day, along with six coaches.
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Christine, who specialised in the 400m event, said: “It's important that we make sure that kids have good access to resources and facilities so they can come and run around.
“I think we've seen a downturn in fitness activity in the last couple of months, so it’s definitely important that we have opportunities to allow kids to be healthy.
“BFTTA and TJ Ossai are doing an awesome job providing a safe place and platform for these children.”
Khy Ada-Mcleod, 12, said: “I was really happy to go back to training after four months off, it's the longest break I've ever had. It was great to see all my friends and the coaches.
“I hate training on my own, so now we are allowed to train together as a group. It made me feel happy.
“Hearing what Christine said about her career really motivated me and I'm more determined than before to make it as an athlete. I've told my mum I want to train everyday now."
The club runs sessions on Mondays and Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7pm and on Saturdays from 10.30am to noon.