Olympian comes to Stratford for Roll on Rio event
PUBLISHED: 11:56 15 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:06 15 July 2016
It’s nearly time for the Olympics to take centre stage in the sporting world once more, and where better for a former Olympian to engage youngsters than at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?
Montell Douglas, who competed in the women’s 100 metres at the 2008 Beijing games, joined students from across east London for activeNewham’s Roll on Rio event.
They were able to try their hand at judo, netball and tennis during Wednesday’s session.
“I’ve come down to engage with the kids ahead of the Rio Olympics,” said Montell, who grew up in Lewisham.
“It’s positive for the kids to try different sports and it’s great that it’s all very local and in sight of the Olympic Stadium.”
Montell said that having athletes and Olympians working with children and taking part in London legacy projects is a great way to inspire younger generations to be more active.
“It’s amazing for them to meet real life Olympians,” she said.
“The London legacy is helping to create a buzz around sport. For them to experience all these sports in one day is amazing.”
Montell, 30, didn’t get into athletics herself until she was a teenager, and even then she trained and competed in high jump before becoming a sprinter. She believes her story could help motivate others.
She said: “I didn’t know what athletics was until I was 13 or 14 when I started doing high jump. I never really had the aspiration to go to the Olympics, it just happened.”
Another important aspect of life as an athlete, according to Montell, is to make sure you enjoy the ups and downs.
Whilst not actively competing at the moment, Montell is still training and says that being a role model for women and young people is why it’s important to take part in events like Roll on Rio.
“I’m currently thinking about what I’m going to do next but coming events like todays inspire me to keep being involved,” said Montell.
After this week Roll on Rio will be available for the general public to enjoy during the summer months.