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St Mary’s Undergraduate Becomes Mentor at Olympic Athletes Charity

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St Mary’s Undergraduate Becomes Mentor at Olympic Athletes Charity

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A final year undergraduate student at St Mary’s University, Twickenham has become a mentor at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, a charity that helps disadvantaged young people. Julien Allwood, who will be graduating from St Mary’s undergraduate BSc Sport Science programme this summer, was recently selected to join the Trust as a mentor to young people between the ages of 16-25. As a professional triple jump athlete who has competed in many national competitions, winning six titles, Julien is aware of the impact that he may have on the young people he mentors. Image shows Julien Allwood He said, “When I was young I used to go to the British Grand Prix athletics competition with my parents and I used to look at the athletes and think ‘wow I want to be like that when I’m older’. As a kid, you do aspire to it because little things like getting an autograph makes you excited and it kind of gives you a sense of direction. It’s not just about the sport the athletes play but their other achievements off the track, such as degrees, running their own companies and projects, and you think you want to have the overall package. It motivates you more when you’re in contact with someone that’s done it as it becomes more of a reality. As a mentor at the Dame Kelly Holme Trust I work with disadvantaged young people who may have been homeless, or dropped out of schooland are lost and struggling to find work. As an athlete I have endured many setbacks and injuries in my career, but have always picked myself up again to get back to competing at International level. It’s this focus, resilience and determination we look to instil as mentors to young people on the Trust’s mentoring programme, helping them move into employment, education or training. Along with his mentoring role, Julien is also an academy sport scientist at AFC Wimbledon and the founder of sports performance company Lotus Spring Sports Therapy. Julien founded the company after suffering a set of injuries that have halted his athletic career. He found that he was unable to access quality rehabilitation care, such as good sports therapists and strength and conditioning exercise, unless it was being funded, so pushed forward to bridge that gap and provide a solution to many up and coming athletes. His portfolio includes Commonwealth Games finalists and fellow triple jumpers Nathan Fox and Daniel Lewis, with the client list continuing to grow. From the perspective of a student, Julien also recognises the benefits of education. He chose to study at St Mary’s due to the facilities and like-minded athletes, but also benefits from networking. He said, “There are so many opportunities to network. Your tutors will have a lot of connections and will help you push through as long as you show them that you’re willing. My role at AFC was largely due to Fiona Wilson in the work placement learning team, so there are good contacts to get you through the doors you want to be in. “My academic writing and the way I project myself on paper has also improved as the standards are very high here.” So what’s next for Julien? “An Olympic medal!,” he says. “I love studying Sports Science but in my eyes I was born to jump and everything I do is about athletics. Even when I do my studies I treat it like a competition and think ‘I need to peak now and add the final touches for a podium style finish’. So everything I do I relate it to that, that’s my focus. “I also want to improve as a sports performance therapist and hopefully have more Commonwealth and Olympic finalists on my books.” And his last words for any aspiring athletes are, “It’s a roller-coaster journey so be prepared for ups and downs. If you just keep grounded and keep pushing then you should be able to get there, which is also the positive message Julien shares with the young people he mentors.”
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