Sprint star Gemili awards Barking and Dagenham College students

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014.

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014. - Credit: Archant

Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili offered inspirational advice to students at his former college as they collected awards for outstanding work.

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014.

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014. - Credit: Archant

He appeared at Barking and Dagenham College’s Excellence Awards, held at The Broadway theatre, Barking, last night.

More than 40 students where honoured including Roy Mugera, who won the Adam Gemili Award for High Performance, and Rheanna Stiles, who picked up the Student of the Year Award won by Gemili two years earlier. Rheanna, whose award was presented by Mayor Elizabeth Kangethe, was part of a team who took over the Post for a week in the summer and secured a four month paid columnist position, despite suffering from dyslexia.

In two years Gemili has gone from college student and surprise star of London 2012 to the country’s biggest athletic medal hope for Rio 2016.

Asked by college principal Cathy Walsh OBE how he has achieved so much, modest Gemili said: “I was bought up to have good values, my family keep me grounded, my friends keep me grounded. You have to focus on yourself no matter what you do, don’t focus on the competition, have patience and you will be a success.”

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014.

A group photo of the winning students at the Barking and Dagenham College Excellence Awards 2014. - Credit: Archant


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And success has certainly come to the former Dagenham and Redbridge FC apprentice, with track legend Usain Bolt his biggest challenge. He added: “Things have been going well. This summer I have won four senior gold medals and in Scotland (Commonwealth Games) I came second to a Jamaican who is quite good.”

Cathy added: “Adam always gave his personal best. I would love to take some of that magic and sprinkle it over all of you.

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“There is something about Adam, he has special qualities. Two years ago he had a choice. He could have been a semi-professional footballer. There are thousands of footballers and there is one Usain Bolt and he chose to be a professional athlete.”

Earlier she addressed the crowd of student winners, college staff and sponsors and said all those studying at the college, young and old, had the chance to succeed if they “had the hunger to do well and worked hard every single day.”

She urged industry leaders, including Barking and Dagenham Post publisher Archant, to continue working alongside the college offering apprenticeships to students who have the desire to achieve.

Dancing and singing from performing arts students opened and closed the evening. A question and answer session was also held with self made multi-millionaire Jamal Edwards, 24, who launched SBTV on Youtube as a 15-year-old to give young people the chance to get their music aired.

Earlier this year Barking and Dagenham College student Jacob Ranson secured a two year apprenticeship with the Post where he will work and train to become a qualified journalist, following a successful internship.

See a full round-up of winners in next week’s Post.

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