Skysports ambassador Jeanette Kwakye, a Great Britain Beijing Olympic finalist visited the Harwich and Dovercourt High School to inspire the next generation. Jeanette’s career spans nearly 15 years. Within this time she has been Britain’s fastest female athlete over 60m, 100m and 200m. Within the skysports living for sport workshop, she spoke with the High Schools ‘Sports Personalities’ of 2012. Her story emphasised mental toughness, determination, people skills, knowledge and ways to help break barriers.
Jeanette started training in athletics at 14 years old. She had a natural talented and with her coach’s guidance was soon in the GB junior squad. In 2002 Jeanette was in Jamaica with the GB team selected for the 4 x100m relay and the individual 100m. While in Jamaica Jeanette witnessed what would soon be the must see event in sport. The male 200m final had just finished with the Jamaican crowd chanting ‘Bolt, Bolt, Bolt’ . Jeanette was inspired to reach the top level she could. By 2008 she became Britain’s fastest woman and was selected for Beijing.
In Beijing Jeanette was ranked 33 out of 96 women who would compete for the gold medal in the 100m. With only 8 people qualifying for the final, Jeanette’s outstanding performance qualified her for lane 1 in the final. With over 3.5 billion women in the world Jeanette was in the Olympic final, running her dream. Having tasted Olympic success, Jeanette set about her training ready for London 2012. However in 2009 she was hit with an injury which was so severe it would take 2 years to recover. With London 2012 around the corner Jeanette had to be more determined than ever. She came back to fitness, arrived at the British championships wanting to prove she was on top form. She ran the race and won it by a good margin proving she was fitter than ever before.
4 months before the 2012 games she started getting pains in both her Achilles tendons, waking up in such pain that she wasn’t able to train or compete. Surgery would undoubtedly replace the 2012 games.
Jeanette now works with skysports as a mentor to inspire pupils; she was still part of the games as a presenter for Sky. She has worked along side Jessica Ennis in an Adidas campaign to try and get more females involved in sport. She has appeared in athletic films that have appeared in the cinema as an actress and producer. She has taken part in a washing powder advert for Ariel and now she no longer competes.
Over 40 pupils from our High School had the opportunity to meet Jeanette. To discuss how she overcame the obstacles in her career.
The pupils she met are rewarded on to the programme, because they were top of their year group in attending sports training, clubs and fixtures. They received points and won the title of sports personality for their year group in 2012-3. The pupils will continue to work together to run a skysports ‘Ultimate Challenge’ event for primary schools. The event will run after Easter with the pupils planning the entire event, from designing the format, the games, the certificates, refereeing on the day etc. The programme overall develops pupils confidence, inspires them to think about their future career and to ensure they always try and be the best they can be. Jeanette’s visit would have undoubtably encouraged pupils to fulfil their potential.
View a selection of photos from Jeanette’s visit on our galleries page