Double Olympic medalist Lutalo Muhammad has taken great satisfaction from the mentoring work he has done through the Team England Futures programme.
The initiative, which is run by charity SportsAid and funded by Sport England, has given over 800 aspiring young athletes and support staff the chance to attend the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to gain the experience of a multi-sport event.
As well as touring the Athletes’ Village and seeing a variety of sports, they were also able to take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the other facilities available to competitors.
Walthamstow taekwondo star Muhammad, 31, was on hand to give the athletes his perspective on competing at such an event, including winning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and bronze at London 2012.
Muhammad, who was funded by SportsAid when he was younger, said: “It’s hugely rewarding. It takes you back to when I was in that position, which is kind of scary because it doesn’t seem that far away.
TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited #SportsAidHouse last week to see #TeamEnglandFutures program in action at #Birmingham2022 Commonwealth Games! The Duchess has been Patron of SportsAid since 2013.
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) August 9, 2022
“It’s wonderful to give advice, give hints or even put a hand around someone’s shoulder and let them know that everything will be fine.
“All those things I wish I had and all those things I’ve had are concerns that I just want to pass on to the next generation, so hopefully we can have a big star future across England. , Scotland and Wales.”
Muhammad is currently on hiatus from competitive taekwondo, his last medal being the bronze he won at the Swedish Open in late April.
This is after he made a big impression as a BBC pundit at the Tokyo Olympics last year, an injury cruelly denying him the chance to complete his medal streak at the Games.
When given the chance to clarify his status in the sport, Muhammad said: “I’m enjoying my rest now and starting to do some really cool things, like doing some more media stuff.
“We’ll see, I guess you can never say never, but right now I’m just enjoying a long rest – it’s been 11 years of non-stop fighting and we’ll see what the future holds.
“But for now it’s all about Team England Futures and I’m happy to be here to inspire the next generation.
“I’m really happy and excited for those who have the opportunity to be here, although a bit jealous, I have to be brutally honest.”
Commonwealth Games England have appointed SportsAid to lead the development, management and operational delivery of Team England Futures at the Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022. You can find out more about the program by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.