Feltham Community College was the place to be for young sports fans yesterday (Wednesday) as former local boy turned Olympic and European superstar Mo Farah returned to his old school writes Sophie Schmitt

The 5,000 and 10,000 metres gold medallist and world champion, was at the school, in Browells Lane, Feltham, to launch a new initiative called Motivate Hounslow.

In his own words, the man who gave the world the Mo-bot celebration, said he was there to “get young people into doing sport rather than just hanging out on the streets”.

Echoing the support he received from his old FCC PE teacher Alan Watkinson, he claimed the scheme would seek to find the next generation of Mo Farahs and give them the same push into sport that Mr Watkinson gave him.

Backed by his own Mo Farah Foundation’ and its partners Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and Sport Impact (the sport charity based at Isleworth and Syon School and led by Mr Watkinson as director) the £250,000 project is aimed at youngsters aged 14-25.

The money, which comes from a Sport England Community Activation Grant, has paid to hire three motivators who all have a wide sports background.

They were hired in July and will be on fixed term contracts for three years; two of them doing 21 hours per week and the other doing 24 hours a week.

They will be trying to encourage young people to get into sport and are promising to work hard to make the project a fun and exciting experience.

They are aiming to recruit 1,000 participants per year and 80 per cent of the sessions it runs will be taking place in the most deprived areas of the borough.

 

Many different sports activities took place at the school during the event, all led by the new team of motivators who pledged to listen to feedback and use it to ensure those taking part get the opportunities they want.

The launch was also attended by the Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Corinna Smart and MP for Feltham and Heston Seema Malhotra

Having delivered 27 years of sport to the community already, BCST felt Motivate Hounslow was a good project to get involved in to help build kids confidence and motivate them to stay on the right track.

The trust also helped to secure further support from a range of organisations including ISIS Waterside Regeneration, BAA Community Trust, Carillion (Hounslow Council’s parks and libraries contractor), Brentford FC itself and Syon House.

Getwestlondon managed to grab a few words with Mo during the event who said it was good to be back on the ground where he took his first steps towards stardom and felt passionate about giving youngsters the same thing he had - a chance.

The 31-year-old, who also has a gold postbox in his name in Isleworth, said: “I hopes to be able to give children from a less fortunate background the chance to follow their dreams and see the world.”

When he was a teenager he got to spend some time in Disney World, Florida, because of his sport.

“I have never forgotten that experience” he said excitedly.

Thanks to Mr Watkinson giving Mo the push he needed to find the right direction, he let go of his dream of playing football for Brentford FC.

“Back then I thought I was the best footballer ever,” he said “But my PE teacher thought otherwise and put me on the right track -the running track.”

Because of his own football background Mo is encouraging kids to “explore all kinds of sport” to find what is best for them and then stick to it.

His message to all the children and young adults is to “work hard” and, “although nothing comes easy”, as long as you do anything with passion and love and believe in yourself you are headed in the right direction to succeed.

“People say ‘You make it look easy’ and I’m like ‘It’s not, I’m hurting inside but I want to win!”