Search

Have the Olympic and Paralympic Games left a sporting legacy? Hackney youngsters give their verdict

17:57 14 September 2012

Great Britain

Great Britain's David Weir celebrates winning Gold during the Men's 800m - T54 Final at the Olympic Stadium, London on Thursday September 6, 2012. Photo credit Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Archant

2012 promoters have long since lauded the Games would be a “summer like no other” for Londoners, and have had high hopes the Olympic and Paralympic legacy would inspire youngsters to take up sport and pursue a healthy lifestyle.

But now the excitement is fading as the Games are finally over and LOCOG has locked the gates of the Queen Elizabeth Park, what is the lasting impression in the minds of school children from Hackney, one of the six host boroughs?

For young people from Cardinal Pole Catholic School in Morning Lane, the overriding feeling was a shift in the way they perceive disabled people.

Last week a group of dedicated children who gave up their spare time to show parents around their brand new school premises were rewarded with surprise tickets for the Paralymic athletics event in the main stadium on Wednesday night.

They were all very moved by the experience, and Damilola Balogun, 14, who lives in Hackney Road, wasn’t expecting to see people with a disability perform to Olympic standards.

“I wasn’t expecting them to be bad, because obviously they wouldn’t be there - but I wasn’t expecting it to be as intense as the actual Olympics,” she said.

“I watched blind people race and they couldn’t see what they were doing, but I sensed they wanted to win you could really feel their emotions.

“You could tell that because at the start you could see they were nervous but you could see their determination at the same time.”

The blind runners are tied to their partners who are able to see and they run together.

Jennifer Oteng, 14, who lives in Shoreditch found it tense.

“Everyone had to be quiet, the commentators said you have to respect the athletes,” she said.

“I didn’t want any of them to lose, they were putting in all their effort, and then one of them won and she was really happy.

“It’s really changed my view of people with a disability, I was questioning myself how they were going to run.

The youngsters also saw blind athletes, and others in wheelchairs and some who had lost limbs taking part in javelin, shot put, long jump as well as blade runners.

Kenneth Oyenusi, 14, who lives in Lower Clapton was most impressed with the 4x100m relay won by Oscar Pistorius’ South African team which broke the world record to win gold.

“The times they run are close to times people run in the Olympics, there were so many world records broken one after the other that night so it was good,” he said.

“It showed me that Paralympians are really great people in order for them to be doing that, they put themselves out and accomplish things, it was quite moving to see.

“They have disabilities but some people try to put them aside.”,

Damilola was lucky enough to bag not only Paralympics tickets, but tickets for women’s handball at the Olympics too, thanks to taking part in an athletics team where she competes London-wide in the hurdles event.

“Handball was a really intense and hands-on, aggressive game,” she said.

“But the Paralympics was more amazing because it makes you appreciate the fact that you are healthy, you have two arms, two legs, there are people out there who only have one arm or one leg but they are making the most of their life.

“It’s opened my mind to think more than in just a small box, before my mind wasn’t open enough to see what people are able to do,” added Jennifer.

So what about the sports legacy left behind – has seeing the athletes in action inspired them to want to take part in more sport?

Jennifer doesn’t think the experience has inspired her to take up any more sport than school PE sessions

“I’m not really sporty, I like rounders, trampolining and athletics, the stuff you don’t dread going to, like football on a rainy day,” she said.

“But I really enjoyed it because this is a once in a lifetime event, it’s probably only going to happen once in London and to say I’m part of it in some way but supp some of the Paralympians by cheering them on and giving them all the support they needed.”

Kenneth plays football and basketball at school and on courts near his home with mates.

“I doubt it I could be in the Olympics but if I wanted to do it, and put my mind to it, there’s a chance I could succeed,” he said.

Damilola agrees it has not inspired her to do any more sports - but believes it will make her enjoy hurdling more.

“I’ve got the confidence to want to achieve more and to make myself proud of achieving,” she said.

“It’s affected me by giving me a different mindset to appreciate what I have more, the opportunities I have been given to do sports and activities.

“If I wanted to be in the Olympics I think I could strive for it, it would take a lot of hard work and determination and practice.

0 comments

Latest Hackney News Stories

Yesterday, 17:29
Police at a Reclaim the Streets and Liverpool Dockers March for Social Justice in 1997, the type of protest Jenner may have attended. Picture: David Hoffman/hoffmanphotos.com

‘Alison’ is one of seven women who received an apology from the Met after unknowingly becoming involved in long-term relationships with undercover officers.

Yesterday, 12:54
GV of Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row.

Homerton Hospital’s embattled maternity unit still requires improvement, a care inspectors’ report reveals today.

Police at a Reclaim the Streets and Liverpool Dockers March for Social Justice in 1997, the type of protest Jenner may have attended. Picture: David Hoffman/hoffmanphotos.com

The activist deceived by undercover police spy Mark Jenner, who embarked on a five-year relationship with her while married with children, has warned hundreds of women may have been affected by the Met’s infiltration of left-wing political groups.

Yesterday, 09:58
Anna Feld and Jess Brittain-George outside Hackney Town Hall

Hackney junior doctors were part of the NHS choir singing for NHS survival yesterday.

Yesterday, 09:11
The two men police want to identify

Police have released CCTV footage of two men they want to track down, after a man was beaten in the middle of the road with wooden stakes, in a horrifying attack which left him with multiple head fractures which he is still being treated for.

Wed, 17:50
The man police want to speak with

Police have released the photo of a man they believe can help with their enquiries, after an iPhone was stolen from woman’s pocket at Dalston Kingsland station.

Wed, 17:18
The IPPC are investigating the death of a teenage moped rider after a police chase on Upper Clapton Road

Investigators were today going door-to-door in Clapton to find out how a teenage boy on a moped lost his life after a police chase this week.

Wed, 14:07
Firefighters tackling the fire in Arcola Street

Fire fighters put out a blaze at a Mangal restaurant in Arcola Street, Dalson, this morning.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe