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Cycling: Hackney girls hail Prudential RideLondon-Surrey event

PUBLISHED: 18:30 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:30 26 July 2018

Hackney's Fatima Munye

Hackney's Fatima Munye

Archant

Getting back on a bike was a giant step for one Clapton teenager who now hopes to complete Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46.

Hackney's Xazal OzcanHackney's Xazal Ozcan

Fatma Munye suffered a cycling accident when she was eight years old but is now taking part in the PruGOals programme, which is working with 500 youngsters aged 16-18 to build their confidence and encourage personal motivation.

The 17-year-old completed the ride last year in 3hrs 45mins but is now aiming for sub-three hours on July 29.

“It’s an amazing opportunity that was given to me,” said the Clapton Girls’ Academy pupil during a regional training ride at the Lee Valley VeloPark Velodrome in Stratford as part of the PruGOals campaign.

“I started cycling when I was three and we had a neighbour who taught me on their bike. But I stopped cycling in secondary school.

“In year 12 I got the opportunity to do PruGOals and I jumped straight for it. You get a free bike and opportunity to be able to improve yourself.

“I got into an accident when I was eight. I became over confident and I went over a pothole. I just flipped over and I have a big scar on my leg.

“It’s great to be back on the bike again and I’ve learned so much and it’s great to get over that hurdle.”

Prudential’s PruGOals programme is run in partnership with charity partners Greenhouse Sports, Transformation Trust, Centre Point, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and Teach First.

The role of the partnership is to empower young people to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential regardless of social or economic background.

Listening to the double Olympic gold medallist deliver a speech was a privilege, according to Fatma, who hopes to use her words of wisdom as inspiration for the big day.

She said: “Kelly Holmes gave us a motivational story about how the smallest thoughts can actually become huge and to follow your dreams. She pursued her dreams and that’s really motivating for me because it opens up doors for me.

“I was given a chance because somebody dropped out and I saw my friends enjoying it and I’m delighted I got the chance. I’m so thankful of this opportunity.”

Hackney’s Xazal Ozcan, who also studies at Clapton Girls Academy, claims taking part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 has changed her life.

The 17-year-old is also participating in the PruGOals programme and, having completed the challenge last year, cannot wait to take part once more, putting completing the ride as one of her biggest life achievements.

“PruGOals has given me one of the biggest opportunities in my life. It’s something I can talk about when I’m asked about my achievements in life. It’s a special experience,” she said.

“I’m happy to be doing it and I’m happy to be a part of it. I want to do 100 miles next year.

“I would say it has changed my life. It has shown me that I can do what I want if I put my mind to it and I can achieve a lot if I stay committed. That’s what it means to me.

“I was offered PruGOals and it sounded really fun. I’ve managed to get a bike and you’re completing 46 miles, how many people get to say they’ve done that?

“It’s helped me commitment-wise. I tend to struggle to commit to anything but with the bike ride you have to train twice a week and it helps build my confidence knowing that I’ve committed to something for a long time.

“I love seeing different places and open spaces and enjoying what’s around me. I’ve cycled a lot recently and I love it.

“Aside from the experience, the knowledge of how to use my gears is something I’ve learnt. I’d never been on a road bike before. I’ve learned the professional side of cycling and how to maintain your focus.”

Ozcal also got to hear Holmes deliver her inspirational speech, adding: “It was amazing to meet Dame Kelly Holmes.

“She’s inspiring. She told us that when she was young she had a tough upbringing and one person inspired her to become who she is today. She was told she can use her talent.

“I appreciated meeting her, it was important. Sometimes it’s great to hear someone say that achieved their dreams in order for you to think that you can do the same too.”

*PruGOals is an initiative set up by Prudential to empower young people to drive their ambitions and fulfil their potential regardless of social or economic background. For more information visit prugoals.co.uk.

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