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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

Crawley pupils reduce local CO2 by Three Tonnes

In just two weeks Crawley school children reduced local air pollution by six kilogrammes of dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) and almost three tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by walking, biking and scootering to school, instead of travelling by car.

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Pupils at Waterfield Primary School with Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability and Patrick Alexander, Bike It Officer at Sustrans.

As part of cycling and walking charity Sustrans’ annual Big Pedal challenge, children from eight Crawley schools used human power for an astonishing 18,284 journeys. 

This comes hard on the heels of two important new pieces of research:

  • Sustrans published YouGov data in March which showed that almost two-thirds (63%) of teachers would support a school gate vehicle ban during drop-off and pick-up times and that more than half (59%) want urgent Government action to improve air quality near schools
  • Public Health England called on local authorities in March to limit transport emissions urgently, banning idling car engines around schools and investing in foot and cycle paths.

NOx can cause breathing problems, reduced lung function and damage teeth. CO2 is a major contributor to climate change. In Crawley children travelled 12,655 miles actively during the challenge, which equates to travelling almost half way around the world. The reduction in CO2 and NOx was calculated by comparing this to the amount generated if all these journeys had been taken by car.

Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, said:

“It is fantastic to see an increasing number of schools in Crawley taking part in the Sustrans Big Pedal, whilst promoting sustainable travel to young people.”

Children at Waterfield Primary have won special recognition from Sustrans for their Big Pedal achievements, receiving a certificate in a presentation attended by Cllr Geraint Thomas. The Bike It Crew at Waterfield Primary are notoriously competitive. They held a Bike It Breakfast, Bling your Bike and daily assemblies to mass up a total of 4,386 journeys and a total score of 76.91%. 

Justin Moss, the Deputy Head of Waterfield Primary said,

“Our pupils are so motivated when it comes to travelling sustainably; they’re also very competitive. They walk, scoot and cycle regularly so the Big Pedal has been amazing for us over the past few years. We regularly talk about the benefits of exercise with the children in whole school assemblies and because of this the children understand the differences it can make to their moods and their ability to engage in their learning.

“At Waterfield we have an elected Bike It Crew and the Big Pedal is their biggest job during the year. They have worked tirelessly to encourage teachers and children to continue to travel sustainably as well as organising events and judging the Bling your Bike competition. I am extremely proud of them and all of their achievements this year.”

Hot on their heels was Seymour Primary, who organised Bike Days for all children from years three to six. These days provided an opportunity for children to progress their bike skills and have a go on the bike obstacle course. On these days the school was flooded with bicycles, scooters and active children.

Across Crawley eight schools took part, from a potential 35. While we can’t say what the impact would be if it was replicated across Crawley even just for two school terms these findings raise interesting questions.

Sustrans’ Regional Director for the South, James Cleeton, said,

“The children, families and schools of Crawley have shown how individuals can dramatically improve the world around them, by replacing cars with human power for just part of the daily routine.

“These children haven’t just prevented the emission of dangerous, invisible pollutants around their schools, but they’ve improved their mental and physical health, giving all of them a better start to the school day.

“At Sustrans, we’re so grateful to every local authority, school, teacher, parent and child who has helped make this possible. What a great start to summer – and a glimpse of what school mornings in Crawley could be like in future.”

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