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17 February 2009
Samson Oni works for Southwark Community Games as our much loved multi sports coach in Nunhead and Peckham Rye - he also competes for Great Britain in the high jump and has taken a giant stride closer towards inclusion in the Great Britain squad for the 2012 London Olympics.
Samson was ranked second for the high jump last year in Great Britain. He narrowly missed out on competing in the Beijing Olympic Games but he is focussed on ensuring that he qualifies for the London 2012 Olympics.
"The 2012 Olympics in London is one my key focuses as a Team GB high jumper.
I just missed out on Beijing this time around but I am determined that this will not be the story again in four years time.
Samson was so unlucky in 2008. After clearing 2.30m both indoors and out, he failed to do himself justice in the Olympic Trials, placing 4th, and thus missed out selection for Beijing. In January this year, Samson was asked to compete for the Common wealth at the Aviva International Match, rival Martyn Bernard was given the British vest; but it was Samson who was the man in best form, clearing 2.29m at his first attempt to share the lead with Manson of the USA.
Samson only just lost out but showed that 2009 was a year of new beginnings - clearing a height just under his PB of 2.30m and gaining the European Indoor qualifying mark. Samson's main focus is the World Championships in Berlin during the summer. His current form as number 1 British high jumper and a 2.29m leap so far this year indicates a good start and hopes this form will carry him over and beyond his current PB of 2.30m.
Samson's year will prove to be a busy one, as well as celebrating the arrival of his baby daughter, his other main focus is to motivate and coach the young people of Southwark, through his work as a Southwark Community Games sport coach.
This determination and never-say-die attitude has served him well on the streets of Peckham and Nunhead where Samson is a role model to the 300 plus young people he coaches every week through. Not that he teaches the children that high jumping is child's play: "It's a very hard job, training twice a day and working a 36-hour week. It’s pure dedication, good organisation and a few sacrifices.
I love my job and I love being an athlete. When I was growing up, I never had anybody in the vicinity to look up to. My heroes were mostly Americans on the TV.
It can be more realistic if they have people they know.
"If just one of the young people I coach joins me in competing 2012 then I would be tremendously proud and satisfied."
If you want to make a giant LEAP into the athletics world join Samson at Harris Academy , Peckham Rye every Tuesday at 5pm. If you are a budding athlete and between the ages of 8-16 then come down and be coached by the current British number one high jumper. For more details call Samson Oni on 07958 111 891.
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