Two sporting celebrities inspired West Suffolk College sports students when they gave talks during Black History month.
Former professional footballer Ruel Fox and GB squad triple jumper Darnte Wilson impressed the students as they talked about their careers and the need to work hard at whatever you do.
Ruel, who played Premier League football at Newcastle under Kevin Keegan and was Spurs second most costly player said the students at the college in Bury St Edmunds did not realise how difficult it was for black players in the early days.
He said there was a lot of racism but, “It was a thing that made me stronger”.
You could either cut short your career or prove them wrong and beat it. That was over 20 years ago and Ruel added that by staying and carrying on: “I like to think I played a part in opening doors for people.”
He told students that it did not matter what their background or upbringing was like, if they had drive and a goal to achieve then nothing should stand in their way.
Triple jumper Darnte told the students that if they were going into a career in sport it was good to have a plan A and a plan B. He said he was a personal trainer as well as being an athlete. That way he was able to train when he was training others, so the two worked together.
“Whatever goals they want to achieve they need to work hard at it now and the fruits of their labour will pay off in the future”. He added that they needed to focus now on their goals.
Sports and Exercise Science student Tomisin Olumoroti, 18, was inspired by the talks.
“It was good, they talked about what it takes to be a good sportsman and to get where they are.” He said the message was to keep working hard and he had spoken personally to Darnte about how to be motivated.
Samuel Kesinro, 19, also studying Sport and Exercise Science, said he learned from both of the speakers the difficult steps they faced in succeeding in their careers. He said they spoke how motivating yourself is not always easy and you need support.
Both the young basketball players said they were “definitely impressed” and would be motivated by the words they had heard.
Sports Science lecturer Lee Mandley said: “It was really good just to have people in to motivate our students, not just athletically but also to talk about the benefits of education. They were great role models and really engaged with our students. “
Sports Academy Coach Richard Wilkins also stepped in at the last minute due to sickness and talked to students about his career as a professional footballer.