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Athletes relive Olympic journey

Wednesday 12th December 2012

As part of a project by BBC Sport, which aims to involve all of the Olympic Borough’s, young people from Royal Greenwich were invited to listen to the stories of an Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

Jon Schofield, who won bronze in a thrilling men’s kayak K2 double final with his partner Liam Heath, and Alistair Heselton, who competed for Team GB’s 7-a-side football team in the Paralympics, shared their London 2012 journeys with the young people in attendance.

Jo Tongue, agent to a number of sports stars including the likes of Robbie Savage, and a producer for the BBC, also attended the event and answered questions from the young people relating to her career.

The event also included a brainstorm session and a number of activities, including a London 2012 focused quiz.

The evening ended with all of the young people in attendance being presented with two tickets each for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

All of the young people (aged 16-25) selected to attend, were either volunteers at the Trust, or had shown progress or impressed in a Trust run project in Greenwich.

Olympic athletic, Jon Schofield spoke about preparing for the final of the Olympics, ‘It’s like the night before Christmas, it’s pretty horrible. The semis didn’t go to plan and we qualified for the final in the fifth fastest time, which was a bit of a shock to us. We were in the best shape we had ever been. When they introduced our name, it felt like they had done a sound effect to the crowd, it was so loud!

Training wise, we do between two to four sessions a day, focusing on strength, power and endurance. We’ve got good coaches and good athletes coming together. I’ve been doing this for 17 years and I got into it as a Cub Scout. I’m going to stick to two hundred metres for Rio. This is now my full-time job.’

Alistair Heselton spoke about his Paralympic journey, ‘The thing I will always hold onto was the noise of the opening ceremony, it really does hit you, it was absolutely awesome.’

In 2006 Alistair Heselton almost lost his life in a car crash, which left one friend dead and another badly injured. He was 23 at the time and had made it to the fringes of the QPR first team. Alistair spoke about his journey, ‘In 2006 I fractured my skull from a car accident. I was told I couldn’t play football again. After four years of not playing football I found out about the cerebral palsy football team, and the doctors let me know of the risks involved and I got into it that way.

I made my debut for England a few years ago and loved it. I was always focused on the Paralympics. I do rely on my memory of football and the standard I played at, but there are no limits even if you are disabled.’