There's a gold medal in us all

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Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games medalist Diane Modahl gave a rousing speech at The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) on Monday evening telling students there’s “a gold medal in all of us”.

Diane, who is also Chief Executive and co-founder of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) spoke at MGS’ Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) Awards ceremony; she gave an inspiring talk about her own achievements as well as presenting medals to more than 60 MGS boys from across Greater Manchester who had completed the D of E Programme.

The ceremony was interspersed with anecdotes from Diane who talked about her experiences running alongside British legends including Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Kriss Akabusi MBE as well as converting her inaugural silver medal into a gold.

She also presented a bespoke ‘8-point-plan’ for MGS young people which advised them on the virtues of patience, coping with highs and lows and preparing to perform at the top of their game in their sporting and academic lives.

Vivienne Horsfield, Assistant Head at MGS, said: “Diane brought so much to our event; she inspired each and every one of us with tales of her athletics career and we were all so motivated by her words.

“There’s a real synergy between DMSF and MGS; hearing about the great work DMSF does in giving young people a sense of purpose through sport is something close to our hearts. We actively encourage our boys to pursue co-curricular activities outside the classroom, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, not only to make them well-rounded young men but also so they can give something back to their communities, so it’s fitting that Diane was with us to reward these boys for their achievements.”

Rewarding and reaching out to young people is something which resonates with Diane; since its inception of the charity in 2010, she has strived to raise the aspirations of young people, developing their capabilities and using sport as a catalyst for change.

Diane and her team currently work with 1180 young people in schools and community venues across Greater Manchester each week, often focusing on the more deprived areas of the city, assisting youngsters who otherwise would not have access to such opportunities.

Speaking after the presentation Diane said: “I met so many young people at this event who I believe are future champions in their own right whether that is in sport, education of employment. Their commitment to their Duke of Edinburgh accolades – and to their broader, academic life – was truly inspirational.

“There is a gold medal in all of us if we are prepared to put the work in. The boys here though have an added advantage thanks to the incredible, unrivalled surrounds of MGS; from its historical, physical buildings through to the unique ethos it instills into its students. It was a privilege to be involved in the awards ceremony and thank the MGS team for the opportunity.