Taekwondo black-belt and Barking & Dagenham College student, Leighann Lewis, is one step closer to being able to fulfil her dream of competing for the UK in the Olympics, thanks to a £1000 sponsorship cheque from Barking and Dagenham College, presented to her by Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas.
Leighann, 17, from Dagenham, juggles a tough five-day-a-week training regime alongside her studies for a BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Sport at the College. Already a member of the Team GB Junior Taekwondo Squad, she has hopes to make the GB Senior Squad soon and it is Leighann's ultimate goal to compete at the 2020 Games in Tokyo – but to do that, Leighann needs all the support she can get.
Knowing how hard Leighann is working on achieving her goals, Barking & Dagenham College was keen to help out. Wijay Pitumpe, Vice Principal at the College and Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham presented Leighann with the £1000 cheque and got the chance to see first-hand how talented Leighann is, when she demonstrated some of her Taekwondo moves.
Along with the support she receives from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, the sponsorship money from Barking & Dagenham College will help Leighann keep up her training and competition involvement as she moves closer to representing the UK at the Olympics. She explains: "As a Junior Squad member you have to pay for everything yourself – training, travel and accommodation. When I compete abroad it gets very expensive so this sponsorship will really help, especially as I have a big competition coming up in Serbia in July. I am so grateful to Barking & Dagenham College for their support, not only with this £1,000 but also supporting me and my dreams and helping me juggle my training and my course work."
Wijay Pitumpe, Barking & Dagenham College's Vice Principal added: "Leighann clearly has the passion and talent to go far. Being able to represent your country like Leighann already is, is not something many people get the chance to do. We're delighted that we are able to support her in her goals and I'm sure we will be hearing great things about Leighann in the future."
Jon Cruddas MP said "Leighann is such a talented athlete. I am certain she can fulfil her dream and represent the UK at the Olympics. This sponsorship will help Leighann with the costs of competing at big competitions. Barking and Dagenham College do such a great job supporting their pupils all the way to achieve their maximum potential."