Man saved from deportation opens his own gym in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 11 February 2020
Copyright: Archant 2020
Ten years ago he was facing deportation - now, a 23-year-old who has trained some of the biggest names in football is returning to Norfolk to open his own gym.
In 2010, Sev Mokake, then 13, was set to be thrown out of the country after the UK Border Agency rejected his mother Scholastica Mokake's application for a post-study visa.
The teenager had already lost his father aged eight, and the prospect of losing his home in the UK was almost too much for the family.
Thankfully, their story struck a chord with the local community, who rallied around them to fight for their right to remain in the UK - a fight that they won.
Since then, Mr Mokake has taken the football world by storm, training stars including TV's Jake Humphrey, and footballers Jacob Murphy and James Maddison, working long, anti-social hours to achieve success.
Mr Mokake's father was a football coach in Tanzania, and he said the game had always been a way to connect to him, despite losing him at such a young age.
After training at Peterborough Academy, Mr Mokake completed an apprenticeship at the now-closed Street Style Gym in Norwich.
When the gym closed, Mr Mokake decided to "risk everything" and go freelance.
He said: "It's been hard getting here. When I started I didn't have anything behind me, but because of my background, I've always wanted to work hard."
Now he can add gym-owner to his impressive CV, as he opens BAS Training on Rackheath Industrial Estate.
TV presenter Jake Humphrey has already trained at the venue, but Mr Mokake said the gym was not just for pro-athletes and stars.
He said: "Money should never hold people back. Footballers will train here but so can the general public because there's going to be group class options that are affordable."
Looking forward, Mr Mokake said he was excited for what was to come, and thanked the friends made in Norfolk for supporting him.
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He said: "I was so young when we nearly had to leave the UK so I didn't understand that my whole life would have completely changed.
"I never look back and feel sorry for myself because I'm just grateful and never want to use my past as an excuse. There's a stereotype and I want to prove people wrong."