engage magazine issue 005 \\\'07 - Page 40

40 TESSA SANDERSON Olympic Opportunities Going for and with it, the Olympic Games, a lifetime opportunity for any nation and one that has promised prosperity for London citizens, particularly those living in the most deprived areas of London where the games will be staged. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said “I think countries can take decisions about wanting to excel more in sport. We can make a decision that, as the Olympic nation, as a prospective World Cup nation, we are going to be a sporting nation and focus more on physical fitness and the availability and accessibility of sports in schools. This is a huge opportunity.” But will this talk come to fruition? ne woman who is determined to see this materialise is none other than, Tessa Sanderson CBE, one of the UK’s greatest female athletes. Tessa became the first British Black woman ever to win Olympic gold which she achieved in the javelin at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Her sporting career at international level has spanned 26 years and includes another three Commonwealth gold medals. Amongst other things, Tessa is very involved in the 2012 Games and has recently established a sports academy in the Olympic borough of Newham. Engage’s editor, Gloria Wyse, contacted Tessa to learn about her plans for the academy and the importance of the Games to London’s businesses and communities. “It’s very important – it’s the Olympic games! Tessa exclaimed. “These 2012 is fast approaching, 1 O “Olympic Games are something to be admired. It is there to aspire and inspire all of us, and even to be a volunteer would be a major experience and pretty special.” Games are significant, mainly because of the regeneration taking place. Having worked in Stratford and built relationships with the local children, I realise there are more or less no opportunities for most of the kids in the area. The build up to the Games and beyond is not just about sport but also about the opportunities for new jobs which will help the regeneration and help the young people in the borough have a better life.” Tessa said. ‘The Newham Sports Academy with Tessa Sanderson’ has been working with the young people of the borough since October 2006 and aims to develop new sporting talent and training coaches for the 2012 Games. “This is a programme I took to Newham a year ago. It means engaging some of the best coaches in the UK to personalise one- to- one training with ‘para’ and ‘non-para’ engage | uk ISSUE FIVE 2007