A promising young athlete has told how his hero Usain Bolt inspired him to follow his dream of representing Team GB in the Olympics.
Matthew Agnimel, 17, is on track and field events with his focus the 100m, 200m and 400m as well as the long jump and triple jump.
He has been a member of the Athletics Academy at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) run in partnership with community sports organisation Reach and Teach.
Matthew had the chance to meet the eight-time gold medallist and record-breaking sprinter when he competed in the 2014 Mini London Marathon.
“I was overwhelmed to meet him. I asked him what he did to get to be the best, and he said ‘I never think limits,’ which has stuck with me.
“He really touches people when he speaks and is on whole different level. It was a day I can never forget.”
Matthew trains three times a week with the Athletics Academy at Lea Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton and with Havering Athletic Club.
In May he achieved personal bests when he came first in the triple jump with a distance of 13.57m and third in the 100m and long jump with a time of 11.37 and distance of 5.79m respectively in the UK Youth Development League Division South 1B.
Matthew also came third in the 400m in the Southern Athletics League Division 2E in April.
On training at CONEL, Matthew added: “The coach has really pushed me and focused me on what I need to do and what I have to gain. When I am do something wrong he will keep telling me until I get it right.
“It’s very competitive. Even when you’re winning you’re trying to keep hold of it and be your best. There’s a lot of good people coming through in this sport, which shows the work you have to put in.
“When I look at my results from last year to this year they have really improved. I feel much stronger and fitter now. I just need to make sure I maintain it.”
Athletics Academy coach and former Team GB athlete John Herbert said: “Over the past year Matthew has learnt his basic skills in terms of how to run better in terms of his movement.
“He has also worked on his strength and conditioning, and as a result his fitness has gone up. He has made a lot of progress in that time and pound for pound for anybody his age he has the right statistics.
“If he works and trains hard, I do not see any reason why he cannot go far in athletics.”
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