Volunteer John strikes Olympic gold

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HE’S off to the Olympics following a long and dangerous path to reach the UK.

Only six years ago John Rwothomach followed his parents over to the UK to seek refuge from persecution in war-torn Uganda.

And now the stage is set for the biggest show of his life after he became one of the lucky people to be picked from more than 250,000 applicants for volunteer places at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

John, aged 17, is to become a volleyball court side assistant as reward for the volunteering work carried out in Sheffield.

When John moved over from Uganda he had difficulty understanding English but his confidence grew gradually and after shining in sports leadership with his school he was selected to join the Sheffield Academy of Young Leaders In Sport aged 15.

He has since volunteered at many of the elite sporting events hosted in Sheffield, from the Table Tennis World Championships to the European Volleyball Championships - gaining vital experience which has enabled him go on to successfully apply for a place at the Olympics.

John, of Doe Royd Crescent, Parson Cross, is currently studying for his A-levels at All Saints School.

He said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s still not hit me! Volunteering has done so much to improve my confidence.

“I know I’ll be volunteering at Olympic volleyball - and it’s such a great feeling.”

The next large sporting event looking for volunteers in Sheffield is the British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships which runs from March 14 to 18.

The Olympic-style multi-sport event takes place at several venues across Sheffield, with the best university sports people competing, many of who will be looking to compete in their sport internationally in the future.

n Contact Susie Roach at Sheffield Council on Susie.roach@sheffield.gov.uk