Not all sportspeople are renowned for their intellectual ability, but a place at the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation has helped a young Mancunian turn around her performance at school.
Filorida Tesfay, from Moss Side, has excelled at Manchester Academy since joining DMSF in September, whilst also showing promise in both basketball and athletics.
The 13-year-old cites an inspirational assembly speech from Modahl – who won 800m Commonwealth gold in 1990 – as the catalyst for her recent achievements.
“After meeting Diane, she made me realise how important it is to pursue your dreams,” said Filorida.
“I was a little nervous at first as I was the only one out of my group of friends to join [DMSF], but I wanted to show how independent I can be.
“I’ve always loved basketball, but now I’ve found I have a talent in athletics too and nothing beats the feeling of performing well.”
And Filorida is doing well, with significant improvement in key areas such as English and Science leading to her being nominated for the ‘Stars of the Week’ merit award at school.
The teen – who said that she uses her Dad’s ‘tough times’ as motivation – is now aiming to become a journalist, inspired by her love of history.
“I didn’t realise how much sport and being active can improve all aspects of life – especially school!” she said.
“But now I’ve realised that the focus and drive the DMSF has given me has encouraged my positive outlook in everything I do, which in turn makes me much happier.”
Retired Mancunian athlete Modahl set up the DMSF to give young people across Greater Manchester access to top level coaching, using sport as a catalyst to ‘encourage and inspire’.
The 49-year-old added of Filorida: “I’m genuinely moved to have any part at all in Filorida’s educational achievements.
“At DMSF, we work to give young people the chance to shine on the athletics field.
“When that makes such a positive impact on their personal lives, it’s priceless.
“Filorida is a delight to train, but it is Filorida herself and her 100% commitment to be the best that she can be which is where all the credit lies.”