Like many boys, I dreamed of getting past everyone else and becoming the best, but as a footballer, not a runner. I grew up playing football wherever possible.
At school I would wear my new Spurs shirt and people would make rude comments because everyone supported Arsenal. I was named player of the year that season, but bullying became a frequent issue.
I was too quiet and weak not to have been bullied, and kids didn’t want some Spurs fan stealing their chance to score and getting all the glory.
When you’re being bullied, even your friends turn on you. You become introverted and volatile. All the talent I had was no use to me.
My schoolmates ignored me. So I decided to dress in standard black sweaters and old track trousers and walk with my head down.
I could not bear another moment of being bullied because of a game. I vowed never to play football again.
Sport never leaves you completely. You still have dreams of winning gold trophies and medals. So I looked around for another sport and joined the local running club, Enfield and Haringey. The kids there were very welcoming.
It wasn’t long until I made new friends, and became increasingly fitter and faster in the process. It was great, feeling my heart pumping faster than a rocket knowing it was getting stronger.
Then came summer time, the track and field season. My nerves began rattling: my first year of competition.
You begin to train even harder. Then came the day of the nationals at the biggest athletics stadium I had ever been to: Birmingham. Everyone was so psyched for their events.
You need emotional discipline to hack the pressure you face on the starting point, to take your mind away from the crowd and think only about the race. I was too young, too inexperienced and I lost the race.
You learn a lot whether you win or lose, and I learnt how to control my emotions. I stopped getting too anxious in races, but I also became a lot friendlier to other people.
People began to notice my talent a lot more at school when I won school races and borough championships. You feel so much better about yourself when you do well at what you love doing, and when your schoolmates see you, your lifestyle begins to change.
People you don’t know talk to you, even the popular ones. I was respected and that is all I wanted. When you’re respected, people don’t judge you and you can become the person you choose to be.
Dreams can come true, if you work hard enough: they are shadows of our potential.