Team GB's Abdul Buhari says that setting his sights on the Olympics changed his life and helped him move from a tough Brixton estate to working in finance.
Buhari, 30, who will try to win a gold medal today in the discus, believes his life may have turned out very differently if he had not paid a visit to a south London sports club 19 years ago.
When he was 11 and living at the Angell Town Estate, Buhari’s parents made him join the Scouts to keep him out of trouble.
He said: “When I lived on the estate in Brixton my parents didn’t want me to get up to anything unsavoury so they sent me to Scout group.
“One day we went to Tooting athletics track where I picked up my first discus and I’ve been addicted to athletics ever since then.
“There’s always a risk of getting into trouble when you’re in that type of environment and I believe your environment shapes you.
“I am still in touch with people I grew up with on the estate but if I had made the wrong decision there possibly would have been a risk.”
Now Buhari combines his quest for Olympic gold with a part-time career at Credit Suisse.
He spends two days a week working as a relationship manager in the City for the bank and five days a week training in Loughborough.
He said: “Credit Suisse have been very supportive, they’ve been very enthusiastic about the prospect of me qualifying for the Olympic Games. Working part-time, I’m probably one of the few people in the banking world who have the chance to do that.”
In Loughborough, Buhari lives with his wife Kay, 29, a project manager, but when he London his returns to his parents’ home in Brixton.
Buhari is also a community ambassador for the London Eye, using his experiences growing up to help young people at the SE1 United group.
He said: “I taught them how to throw a discuss. They were so enthusiastic because discus is an unusual sport and doesn’t get that much coverage.”
Buhari says qualifying for the Olympics on his home turf “means the world to me”, adding: “It’s the only time the country can see where their money goes. I think it’s an opportunity for British athletes to say thank you.”
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