Review of the Year: Southwark athletes did us proud in Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

Kit Heren (31 December, 2021)

Athletes from Peckham and East Dulwich picked up two bronze medals and a silver between them

44987Columba Blango

Several Southwark residents picked up medals at the delayed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

Peckham BMX’s Kye Whyte took home the silver medal after a close contest with the Dutchman Niek Kimmann. After a joyful homecoming for Kye at the Prince of Peckham pub, coach CK Flash said numbers at the Burgess Park-based BMX club were up 40 per cent.

The coach added: “Kids can see it’s a way out – they look at Kye and see he’s making a living from it. It’s not just kids from Peckham that are looking to Kye, it’s all over.”

Peckham BMX coach: numbers up 40 per cent after Kye Whyte Olympic success

Kye said that much of his success was due to the hours he put in at the £1.2m Burgess Park track, which was paid for in part by Southwark’s 2012 Olympic Legacy Fund.

The track was launched in 2013 and since then the council has allowed the Peckham BMX Club free use of the track, while continuing to maintain it fully, meaning coaches do not have to worry about utility fees or having to pay to keep the track up.

Elsewhere at the Olympics, Kye’s fellow Peckham resident Imani-Lara Lansiquot won bronze in the 4x100m relay alongside London sprinters Dina Asher-Smith, Daryll Neita and Asha Philip.

Peckham sprinter wins Bronze with London team mates

Imani-Lara said: “We are just four ordinary girls from London with big dreams. If you can see it you can be it. Speechless right now.”

In the Paralympics, East Dulwich man Columba Blango also came home from Tokyo with a bronze medal in the T20 400 metres category, for people with intellectual disabilities.

Columba Blango: Paralympic medallist stays ‘humble’ as he prepares for life after Tokyo

Columba, 29, finished with a personal best of 47.81. Speaking to the News after the games, he said he was going back to his day job in the Peckham Primark.

“Nothing has changed, I’m still my humble self,” he said. “I’m not someone who changes. I’m always humble, I’m always grounded. Change [like winning medals] doesn’t affect me.

“I usually use my Christian faith to keep me grounded. I grew up in a Christian household, the number one household rule is to be humble. Be the person you are because that will allow you to express yourself in full.”

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