In the news - Kevin Sempers

19th November 2010 at 00:00

Kevin, 24, is a teaching assistant at Uxbridge High School. A few weeks ago he jetted off to India to compete in the decathlon at the Commonwealth Games. Lessons stood still in the north-west London secondary as students and staff watched him perform in the 10 events live on television. The school is so proud that its head, Peter Lang, is behind a new campaign called "Go, Sir, Go".

Quite the hero, aren't you?

"I get embarrassed at times in assemblies, but it's nice to have the kids say, 'Well done, Sir,' and, 'Come on, Sir,' when they pass me in the corridor. The headteacher is using me as a positive role model for the children."

What's the "Go, Sir, Go" campaign all about?

"It is to get me competing in the London Olympics. The staff and children are helping me massively, supporting me at the Commonwealth Games and motivating me for 2012. It is a big challenge to qualify - I'll have to score 8,000 points. To qualify for the Games I had to score 7,300, so it's a massive step up."

What's been your biggest hurdle?

"When you compete, your biggest enemy is you, your mind. On the second day of the Games, I caught up with my fellow countrymen competing in the same competition, and it took a lot of energy. The doctors told me not to compete in the last run - they said my body was pushed to exhaustion and I had heat stroke, but I ignored their advice. I thought: "I can't fail, I've got 1,200 kids following me back home."

Any signs of the Delhi belly?

"Anyone who didn't come to the Commonwealth Games because of the safety issues missed out greatly. There were no issues with my competitions. There were a few things unfinished, but in terms of the basics and what was necessary, I was able to compete and really enjoyed the whole experience."

Even with heat stroke?

"The track was hot at any time; it was 34 degrees during the day and 34 degrees at night. The humidity was nearly 40 per cent. I remember on one of the events, the pole vault, I drank six litres of water and hardly went to the toilet."

What's been your proudest moment to date?

"It was receiving the medal after winning the 400m race and seeing my parents in the stand. I've been into sport since a young age; my dad was a bowling instructor and I played many sports including county-level tennis. I started athletics at 17, when I won the high-jump and hurdles in the English Schools Nationals. That success got me recognition and made me decide to pursue athletics."

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