Joint Winners – Adam Gemili and Adam Knott
In July 2012, just seven months after a courageous decision to become an athlete rather than a footballer, Adam, 18, from Barking and Dagenham College, became the fastest British junior of all time. At the World Junior Championships in Barcelona he broke the 100 metre record with a time of 10.05 seconds, securing his place on Team GB for the 2012 Olympic Games. This sprinting sensation ran against world-class athletes in the 100 metres semi-final and the relay at London 2012.
Despite international acclaim, he has remained focused on his studies, gaining a distinction in his BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport in July and is now enrolled on a Sports Science degree at the University of East London. He ensured that his studies did not suffer when training and competing away from home, telephoning his tutors to discuss course work and making sure his assignments were delivered on time.
A positive role model, Adam is generous with both his time and talent. He undertakes football coaching at local schools inspiring pupils to focus on their personal best performances. He also took time out to demonstrate to fellow students at Barking and Dagenham College how focus, dedication and discipline are the pillars of success.
Adam, 18, Peter Symonds Sixth Form College, was first introduced to Goalball just over two years ago after his father saw a feature about Paralympic sport on TV. Adam and his younger brother David had a go at the sport at a British Paralympic Association event, never imagining they would both win a place on Team GB’s first ever Goalball squad at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Adam, who is visually-impaired, was the leading scorer in the London 2012 event and, even though Great Britain did not make it to the finals, he was the top player and is an Ambassador for the sport.
His musical and academic achievements are also outstanding; he has grade 8 in Piano, Flute and Jazz Flute and is predicted A grades in his Maths, Music and Spanish A Levels. He is a member of many musical ensembles and regularly performs in concerts, including Big Band and Orchestra.
Third prize went to Michael Cassidy
Michael, 18 from New College Nottingham, has progressed from being not in education, employment or training (NEET) to gaining full-time employment and is now studying towards a Level 2 Carpentry & Joinery Apprenticeship.
When he started at the college in July 2010, Michael was undecided about his career path, but with encouragement from his lecturers he enrolled onto the college’s My Career Builder, a course specifically designed for NEETs. In February 2011 Michael applied for the Pre-Apprenticeship Programme, a 22-week course designed to help young people find employment in the construction industry.
Before Michael started the Pre-Apprenticeship Programme he dedicated much of his time to helping the community. He was involved in a local project - Communities Taking Control - to help the residents of Harwill Crescent in Aspley, Nottinghamshire, by clearing gardens, trimming overgrown bushes and hedges and helping to clean the street to make the crescent more appealing for the residents. Michael proves that through hard work and determination you can succeed no matter what your circumstances.