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High hopes for Olympic sporting legacy among Haringey youth

16:40 18 September 2012

Paulos Asgodom, one of the country's top cross-country runners for his age. Picture: Adam Kerfoot-Roberts

Paulos Asgodom, one of the country's top cross-country runners for his age. Picture: Adam Kerfoot-Roberts

Adam Kerfoot-Roberts

Gymnastics classes across the borough are full to bursting and Haringey is set to get its first ever handball club - early signs that Olympic fever could well last beyond the summer.

Athletes, from left, Paulos Asgodom, Tom Holden from Sutton, Petros Asgodom and Scott Overall from Team GB. Picture: London Youth GamesAthletes, from left, Paulos Asgodom, Tom Holden from Sutton, Petros Asgodom and Scott Overall from Team GB. Picture: London Youth Games

Sport leaders are keen to cement this legacy by getting more young people involved in sport at school, despite deep budget cuts forced upon the council in 2010.

Dave Thomas, Games organiser for Haringey, said: “Getting young people involved in sport requires funding and it requires people.

“We have some great people in Haringey, and we do a lot with the money we have - but we could always do with more.”

He is joined by a chorus of sport advocates in saying that strengthening links between schools and clubs is the way to keep young people engaged in sport.

Adam Coffman, who runs tennis lessons in Harringay, said: “School is where interest can be sparked in kids who might not be encouraged to do sport elsewhere.

“The more kids who play tennis at school, the more chance there is of finding the next Andy Murray!”

The borough is not short of budding sports stars, all of whom were first spotted at school. Twins Petos and Paulos Asgodom, 15, who attend Woodside High school, rank first and third nationwide in their age group for cross-country running, while 18-year-old Somalian Hassan Muse, from Fortismere School, is touted to be the next Mo Farah.

Leaders believe this potential is the tip of the iceberg, and are hopeful that the summer of sport will see more stars come forward.

Burk Gravis, Haringey Sports Development Trust chief executive, said: “The Olympics put the ‘Great’ back in Britain - they showed that we can get organised and get things done!”

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