Video and photo gallery: 2010 Commonwealth hero Leon Baptiste inspires King’s Lynn youngsters

Commenwealth 200m gold medalist Leon Baptiste has been an athletics mentor to school pupils from the Lynn area - Leon with pupils from the tennis coaching session. Picture: Matthew Usher. Commenwealth 200m gold medalist Leon Baptiste has been an athletics mentor to school pupils from the Lynn area - Leon with pupils from the tennis coaching session. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
9:03 AM

Youngsters in West Norfolk enjoyed another chance to rub shoulders with a double Commonwealth gold medallist.

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Leon Baptiste, who triumphed in the 200m and 4x100m at Delhi 2010, attended King’s Lynn’s Springwood High School as part of his role as a Sky Sports Living for Sport mentor. The athlete delivered a sprint masterclass to the school’s sprinters before he linked up with students undertaking an LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) ‘Beyond the Baseline’ coaching scheme to help teach Year Five pupils from Howard Junior School the basics behind tennis at Lynnsport.

The 28-year-old, who missed London 2012 through injury, said: “It was my second visit to Springwood and I was there to work with a project group who are leading a session of basic tennis skills to the primary school youngsters. It’s all about having fun, getting people involved, and in a sport, like tennis, that they wouldn’t normally play. My role was to inspire, motivate and work with the younger ones. Winning at Delhi created an opportunity, this is what it’s all about. When kids listen to my story they see me and think ‘you’re such a down to earth person’, they get to know me, and they realise that with good hard work and dedication in the future they can potentially achieve their dreams.”

Lynn-based LTA Coach Gerry Bird, who works at the King Edward VII School (KES) Community Tennis Centre, also assisted with the racquet-based sport’s session.

Luke Feaviour, Springwood’s director of sport, thanked Bird and also said: “We are hugely proud to be able to continue to offer Springwood High School students the opportunity to develop life skills through their involvement and enjoyment of sport.

“We have been involved in the Sky Sports ‘Living for Sport’ programme for the third successive year and it has really benefited the students involved. There is no greater inspiration than to meet, in person, real sporting heroes who have achieved such phenomenal success as a result of huge personal sacrifices, dedication and hard work. I am thoroughly looking forward to Leon’s final visit scheduled for May.”

* Video filmed and edited by photographer Matt Usher.

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