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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.

Community

Extra mental health support in Crawley schools to be developed

West Sussex has been successful in a bid to develop extra mental health support in schools across two pilot areas.

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New specialist Mental Health Support Teams will work with children in over 20 schools in a joint partnership between West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Following an analysis of need, the one-year pilot will be rolled out in north-west Crawley and in Bognor Regis and Felpham.

The specialist teams will:

• Provide one-to-one support to children with mild to moderate mental health issues, building on the support already available

• Work alongside school counsellors, nurses and designated mental health leads and introduce or develop their whole school or college approach 

• Liaise with external specialist services to help students with more severe needs to get the right support

Richard Burrett, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“One in nine young people aged five to 15 are believed to have a mental health condition and we know early intervention is crucial. So I’m delighted that West Sussex school children will benefit from this exciting new pilot and I look forward to seeing it progress.”

Dr Patience Okorie, Clinical Director Crawley CCG, said:

“This is an exciting development and has come at a time when we have seen increasing need for emotional and mental wellbeing support amongst young people. We recognise the need for early intervention and support and had found there was a huge gap for this.

“The new pilot service is a great opportunity to ensure young people get the help they need at the right time and the right place.”

Alison Wallis, Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Services at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are so pleased that we were successful in our bid for this new service and that we will be able to improve and build on the early and preventative support that we currently provide for children and young people in West Sussex.

“Young people spend a large proportion of their time at school, so it really does make sense for there to be teams based in schools who are specially trained in how to support young people if they raise concerns about their mental health or emotional wellbeing. 

“I am really looking forward to seeing the positive impact that this pilot service will make.”  

The Mental Health Support Teams will now be developed and should be up and running in West Sussex by September 2020.  

It is part of NHS England’s ambition to roll out the specialist support nationally to reach up to a quarter of the country’s young people by 2022-23.

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