Waltham Forest can claim to have produced two of the fastest sprinters in the world after a double triumph at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Leyton-born Asha Philip, a former pupil at Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone, qualified for Sunday’s 100metres semi-finals and ran a time of 11.33 seconds, the 23rd fastest time in the women’s competition.
Fellow TeamGB sprinter Chijindu Ujah, who grew up in Enfield but honed his speed at Lee Valley Athletics Centre while attending Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College in Walthamstow, narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 100m men’s final at Rio.
In his semi-final in the early hours of Monday morning Chijindu – better known as CJ – raced against Usain Bolt, finishing just 0.15 seconds behind the treble gold medal-winning 100m world record holder.
CJ’s time of 10.01 seconds at Rio makes him the ninth fastest man in the world. His personal best time of 9.96 seconds, set two years ago, makes him the third fastest Briton of all time.
James Massara, head of sport at Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College in Chingford Road, said: “We are incredibly proud and inspired by CJ’s achievements. Aged just 22, he has the world at his feet.
“We can expect plenty more of Olympics action from this extraordinarily talented young man. CJ is a huge inspiration to our students.”
CJ completed a BTEC Applied Science course at the college in 2013 before starting a BSc Strength and Conditioning degree at Middlesex University. Last year, CJ returned to Sir George Monoux to officially open the college’s new gym and was later awarded the ‘Inspirational Alumnus of the Year Award’.
Asha, aged 25, is a former World Youth Championships 100m gold medalist and Commonwealth Games 100m relay bronze medalist. But she missed out on competing at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games because of injury.
After learning she would be competing for TeamGB in Rio she said on Twitter: “I can finally say I’m going to the Olympics! OMG mum I’m going to be a Olympian!”
Both Asha and CJ are due to compete again for TeamGB in the 4x100m relay events which begin on Thursday afternoon.