Four students won an in-school competition to interview four-time Olympic champion, and former I&S student, Sir Mo Farah. They did this at a Sport Impact Conference at The Stoop, home of Harlequins Rugby Club. Here are their accounts.
Winning the Competition – Nishant Brahmbhatt (10Tr)
It all started off with the ‘ping’ sound of the notification letting me know there was a new post on our school Teams channel. It was about the contest of getting a chance to meet Sir Mo Farah. I instantly set out to answer the question: ‘What has Sir Mo Farah done for the community and why would you like to meet him?’ I wrote:
“One of the most notifiable things out of many that Sir Mo Farah has contributed to our community and to the world is by setting a great example of the Somali-British community. Even though there are many negative views and opinions on the Somali society in the UK, Sir Mo Farah defies them all. Another really admirable thing he has done is his contribution to the ‘Save the Children’ Charity. He has been the ambassador for the charity since 2017. He has also helped his native country, Somaliland, through his ‘Mo Farah Foundation’. Thus, I have been really inspired by his actions and achievements, Hence, I would really like to meet him in person and this is a great opportunity to do so.”
During the day, I was lucky enough to meet his highly credited PE teacher Alan Watkinson who is known to have found Mo Farah’s talent and nurtured him into becoming the great champion he is today. He told us about how he came to train Sir Mo Farah at Feltham Community College. Alan had seen the potential in Sir Mo since the beginning, helping him overcome hurdles such as not knowing how to speak English. Over time, with a lot of practice and time investment, Sir Mo became the runner he is today!
Note : Alan then worked at Isleworth & Syon, which is why Sir Mo joined the school in the Sixth Form. Alan is now the Director of Sport Impact, who hosted this conference and are supported, sponsored and sustained by Isleworth & Syon.
The Conference – Freddie Baxter (7Ad)
When we arrived at The Stoop, I was thrilled at the sight of so many people trying to act on women’s sport and healthy living. We were introduced to some of the main charities such as an association that were helping with the 2022 Women’s European Championship. After that, we were able to walk around and talk to all the different charities, including A-life, The Harlequins Foundation, The Cycle Coach and Rugby in a Box. These charities are going to schools to help create good habits about exercise and food.
Later in the day, we were able to meet Sir Mo Farah. We sat in a room asking him questions. My question was: ‘As an athlete, how do you get back to training after winning the Olympics?’ The answer was: he is extremely ambitious and wanted to do more. Sadly, we could only ask questions for a limited amount of time, but we were still able to listen to a speech by Mo Farah and his former PE teacher. It was amazing to learn many things about when Sir Mo Farah was my age.
Interviewing Sir Mo – Ahmed Sherif (10Br)
I represented Brunel House on this trip. As I headed out of the area, I was looking around the main hall and saw Sir Mo Farah walk in. He greeted us as well as the Sixth Form Sports Leaders with a handshake. We went upstairs into a little commentary room with a lovely view of the rugby pitch in front of us. Then, we sat around a fine table with a black cloth around it and formally introduced ourselves, stating our name, year group and country. We swiftly moved to question-asking and everyone had their turn. It was so surreal!
Having an Olympic champion answer my questions was an honour. I was so glad to be able to have a chat with him. He was so humble and glad to answer all of our questions. Really a down-to-earth guy! All of us took collective and individual pictures with him and a signed autograph.
We collectively went back downstairs and participated in some workshop fun before being called for Sir Mo’s talk. He told us about his journey coming from Somalia and not understanding any English, before running for his country. It was such a lovely talk to listen to. After the talk had finished, we took pictures with him! All in all, I had a blast and wouldn’t trade the opportunity for anything as these things only come around once in a lifetime. It was a great experience speaking to Sir Mo. I hope I get the chance in the future to speak to him again!
Conclusion – Isaaq Yasin (8Sn)
When I saw Sir Mo Farah, I was excited.
As soon as I interviewed him, I was nervous and overly-hyped because I met my inspiration. When Sir Mo was speaking about his career, we were all amazed and inspired.
Speaking to him and other athletes really made me think about my career and if I should become a cyclist, runner or swimmer.
A fantastic opportunity for these young men, who were selected in part because of their interest in journalism. It is clear that they were suitably inspired by meeting one of their heroes.
We would like to also mention the 16 Sports Leaders from Year 12. These students spent the day assisting at the Conference and did so in a supremely professional and helpful manner. Well done to them.