Stokes inspires future stars

Talk: Stuart Stokes talks to children at Buckshaw Primary
Talk: Stuart Stokes talks to children at Buckshaw Primary
Share this article
Have your say

While his fellow Team GB mates have been basking in the glories of one of the most successful Olympic Games ever, Lancashire’s Stuart Stokes has been trying to appeal to a future crop of young sports stars.

The Olympian, a teacher at Holy Cross RC High School in Chorley, has been visiting primary schools in the area to inspire the next generation of sports stars.

The 3000m steeplechase star went to chat to the athletic team at Buckshaw Primary School and talked about his roller coaster six months.

He said: “The Olympics was a just surreal experience.

“One minute I am teaching full classes at school about Geography then I get a phone call to say I had been picked for the squad and the next thing I am doing is training with some of Great Britain’s top athletes with just days to go. It was amazing to be meeting people like Boris Johnson or Rowan Atkinson and also just being involved in the games itself.

“After it was all over, I was back to teaching unlike some of the athletes.

“At least by going to chat to the school kids it keeps it alive for me.

“I enjoy talking to them and who knows I could be convincing them to be future athletes.”

The 36-year-old’s inspirational story began at a training camp along with Mo Farrah, where they met Moroccan running ace Hicham El Guerrouj, more than a decade ago.

He said: “It all happened about 12 years ago and he was a young guy who wanted to win gold to help get money for his family and country.

“He fell in his first Olympics, was beaten into second at the next one but finally did it in his last one. I was amazed about how committed he was and never gave up on a dream.

“I was not picked for the Bejiing Olympics which was frustrating at the time.

“But when I thought about what he had been through in terms of poverty and how he wanted to better himself by winning at the Olympics.

“That pushed me on to achieve my goal and it came true in the summer.

“I have been telling the young people that the concept applies to everything we do where you don’t give up on things whether it is literacy, numeracy or even sport and you can succeed.”

Stokes made his Olympic bow and even though he came 35th he was one of the only members of the GB track team to hold a regular job.

He hopes that his talks will put him at the top of the podium for getting youngsters into sport.