Olympic Hockey Player Gives Wimbledon Park Master Class

Part of the YMCA's Get On Track programme

Olympic hockey player Darren Cheeseman held a master class in Wimbledon Park as part of the Get On Track programme run by YMCA London SW.

Starting on July 1 and lasting for six weeks, the Get On Track participants will receive ongoing mentoring support from two world-class athletes, who play the role as mentors and inspirational coaches at the programme.

Lead athlete is Darren Cheeseman, who was introduced to the sport when Arsenal FC sent coaches from their hockey programme to his primary school. Immediately, the coaches took note of Darren's natural ability and as a result he was invited to after-school sessions at Arsenal FC's stadium.

Within months, Darren was competing for Islington in the London Youth Games, in which he achieved a gold medal. From there he went on to represent Essex U13, East of England U13 and England U14 teams. Darren has since competed in the 2010 London Olympics as part of the Great Britain Senior squad and represented England Juniors at U16, U18 and U21 Levels. 

Support Athlete Monique Newton, a Team GB Powerlifter, also has a unique and hugely inspiring story. She has battled various health and personal problems; as a child she suffere d from the rare tumour ganglio neuroblastoma on her spine which spread to her abdomen, and at age 15 she had to leave home after falling out with her parents.

However, she overcame her problems and setbacks, becoming so fit, strong and healthy that she now excels at her chosen sport - powerlifting – and can deadlift three times her own bodyweight.

Monique began powerlifting in January 2010; by November of that year she was competing at the World Championships in Finland, where she came in first place in the Teen category. She has since broken over 45 British and European records! At 48kg bodyweight, she has lifted a 142.4kg deadlift and squatted 100kg.

The Get On Track programme was implemented with great success by YMCA LSW last year and has now been running two times in South West London.  John Carabali–Lopez, who was jobless when he signed up for the programme in February, is now working as a boxing instructor. He said this about taking part in Get On Track:

"My best moment in Get On Track was when we all went rock climbing and I got stuck high, high up in the wall . I was so scared, but everyone in the group supported me and cheered me on to keep me going. One word that describes Get On Track is ‘Inspirational.. The programme made me become more open minded and meet with people I wouldn’t have talked to otherwise. In the long run, Get On Track made me a better person" 

Dame Kelly Holmes, initiator of the Get on Track programme, has said: “Working with the YMCA in South West London is a great chance to expand my charity’s work in the area. It will allow our elite athlete mentors to use the unique skills they learnt competing at top level to insp ire young people. Given the right support and partnership work we can really change these young people’s lives.”

  • The next programme starts on July 1. The Recruitment Day for Young people and Partnering Businesses, including a Master class by Darren Cheesman, took place on Thursday (June 19) at Wimbledon Park Hall.

June 19, 2014

Related links
Related Links

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust