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The Crawley student who is inspiring everyone

After announcing his acceptance into the Olympic Programme last month, we sat down with Anton Adewale to discover more about this talented Crawley student.

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The internet is awash with stories and videos of talented youngsters from around the world. Sometimes a three year old who can play Brahms Requiem backwards on a piano or another child who is pitched to be the next Lewis Hamilton. But these stories all have one thing in common, they are all about people in places no-where near us.

Till now!

We ran a story a couple of weeks ago about a student at Thomas Bennett Community College who had just been accepted into the Olympic Programme for his gymnastics.

The achievement of this young man did not go un-noticed by the locals including politicians who all vocalised how impressed they were.

But to understand just how incredible an achievement this is we decided to sit down with Anton at his school to find out more.

The Thomas Bennett pupil has not let his studies be affected by his intense training schedule.

Fourteen-year-old Anton Adewale looks like your typical teenager. Slightly shy and unimposing, his slight frame gives nothing away from the gruelling 27 hour schedule he undertakes every week ONTOP of his studies.

Anton trains for the mens artistic which is made up of six apparatus, The Vault, The Floor, Pommel Horse, Rings, Parallel bars and Horizontal bar.

“The floor is my favourite!” Anton points out straight away.

But how did it all start for the youngster?

“When I was four I was watching the Beijing Olympics with my mum,” says Anton, “when I saw the gymnastics I was like, I want to do that! So my mum started me up at gymnastics at ICC before moving to Hawth gymnastics club where I had one coach Josh till I was eleven. Now I’m based at Pegasus in Maidstone.”

Having started at such an early age Anton made the decision to take it seriously when he was only eight.

“I just really enjoyed it and found I was good at it so I wanted to just persevere with it. I would sometimes with my coach get set targets and because of your team mates they help motivate you because doing it by yourself is quite hard.”

Most people know just how hard it is to stay focused but Anton even has this sorted out;

“I try to think of the positives, because your whole sessions wont just be negatives, there will always be a positive somewhere, so if I have a negative on the high bar but a positive on the pommel then I will concentrate on the pommel and it will cheer me up”

An incredibly mature attitude and when your training routine consists of six days of the week with, Monday, Wed and Thursday 5-9, Tuesday and Friday 2-7 and Saturday 10-3 you realise the sheer mammoth commitment required. What’s more he is not allowing any of his training to interfere with his school grades and still has time for his friends who fully support him.

If you thought your training was intense, check out this snippet of just one session:

Last year this commitment reaped its reward. He came 3rd in the English Championships, 15th in the British Championships and an incredible 2nd in the grades competition where all the boys from across the UK compete.

Just to reiterate, Anton is only fourteen!

So what’s next?

“This year I have the English and British Championships and if I do well I can compete internationally for GB.” Anton explains.

In order for him to make the cut for team GB it means he will have to reach the top six which after his recent success you would think would be easy but as he points out, this will be the first time he will competing with boys older than him.

Regardless of how he performs in the few weeks, Anton has made it into the Olympic cycle preparing athletes so they are ready to compete and whilst he will not be old enough for the 2020 Tokyo games the goal is certainly for the 2024.

One thing is very clear though, Anton Adewale is such an inspiration to everyone and without doubt someone to keep an eye out for.

It goes without saying this talented athlete is someone Crawley is very proud to have as a resident.

The support from his school was summed up perfectly by the new head Mr Smith:

“We continue to support Anton with whatever he needs during his time at Thomas Bennett.”

But all this training does come at a cost and remarkably Anton has yet to get any sponsorship meaning the whole family has to pull together and tighten the purse strings to make it possible.

If you are a business and would be interested in becoming a sponsor of Anton then please email us at info@crawleynews24.co.uk and we will pass on your details.

Education

‘Reckless’ National Education Union attacks West Sussex Council over schools reopening

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The National Education Union has spoken out saying they have been frustrated by the ‘reckless’ approach they say West Sussex County Council has taken towards the safety of its members on the matter of schools re-opening more widely.

Joint NEU West Sussex Branch Secretary Ann Seuret said:

“It is disappointing that the local authority has referred to a ‘phased re-opening’ because schools have been open throughout the lockdown, where our members have been working on the front line, providing a vital service for vulnerable children and those of key-workers whilst they protect us from this awful disease.”

They say that contrary to the views expressed by some politicians in the county, The National Education Union is consulting on a wider re-opening of schools and is using a detailed checklist endorsed by the other education unions, which follows the structure of the government’s own guidance, to do so. They add that every school needs to consult in good time to fulfil its statutory obligations, and many are only at the beginning of that process.

It has now been confirmed to the NEU that many schools in West Sussex will NOT open more widely on June 1st despite the council claiming that they will. This follows widespread concern from heads in West Sussex wanting reassurances from government.

NEU Regional Officer, James Ellis said:

“The National Education Union wants children to return to school as soon as possible, but only when it is safe. Our five tests set out some reasonable criteria by which to measure this, and they have not been met. We still do not know the rate of infection (the R rate) in the county, or whether or not children are less likely than adults to pass on the infection. Schools are not able to keep children two metres apart, and this is acknowledged in the government guidance. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has concluded that there is no evidence that age affects the likelihood of being infected with Covid19, so we cannot understand why children are not required to social distance. Whilst testing has been increased nationally, our members are not confident that the ability yet exists across West Sussex to isolate cases and successfully contact, track, and trace them. This system just isn’t ready yet, and so we believe West Sussex County Council is acting too hastily. This stands in marked contrast to other councils who are taking a more cautious approach to only open more widely when the scientific data shows it is safe to do so. Despite this recklessness many West Sussex schools are sensibly deciding that 1st June is too soon.”

Primary schools in West Sussex which have already confirmed they will not yet open more widely on June 1st include:

  • all schools run by The University of Brighton Academies Trust: Lindfield, Blackthorns, Holmbush, Pound Hill, Desmond Anderson, and it’s secondary: Burgess Hill Academy
  • all schools run by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT): Broadfield Primary Academy, Hilltop Primary School, Portfield Primary Academy, Seal Primary Academy, Seymour Primary School, Tangmere Primary Academy, The Bewbush Academy, The Mill Primary Academy, The Oaks Primary School,  and it’s secondaries: Chichester High School,  Thomas Bennett Community College and The Academy, Selsey,
  • Southgate Primary School


In addition, Headteachers at Crawley Secondary Schools: Ifield Community College, Holy Trinity School, St Wilfrid’s, Oriel High School Hazelwick and The Gatwick School
– have taken the unusual step of issuing a joint statement.

In it they said:

“As a group of secondary Headteachers of the schools in Crawley we have unanimously agreed that no students will be in school (other than those for childcare) any earlier than 15th June… We have come to this position in order to act responsibly for the welfare of the school and local community.”

NEU West Sussex Joint Branch Secretary and Health and Safety Officer, Anne Barker said:

“For the National Education Union it is not about an arbitrary date, but uppermost in our considerations is the safety of our members, the children in their care, and their families. The statutory obligations of employers to meaningfully consult on risk assessments is clear.

This means there has to be enough time to explain the issues to our members, time for them to consider and make informed responses, and time for employers to take into account their response before making a final decision.

We are ready to do that on the basis of our five tests and our checklist, but schools must let go of this arbitrary June 1st date. Mr Ellis added, “If schools do push ahead to open more widely on June 1st we will advise members that we do not believe it is safe for them to attend work and that we are not satisfied that the employer has met their obligations under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Any member subjected to a detriment as a consequence of not attending work will be vigorously defended by our union.”

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