A Waltham Forest College student is among 22 youngsters selected for this year's 'Unlocking Potential' programme

This Is Local London: Student Ross Fernando, left, with Taekwondo champion Romaine Bailey Student Ross Fernando, left, with Taekwondo champion Romaine Bailey

A teenager from Walthamstow has been selected for a unique mentoring programme with elite athletes.

Student Ross Fernando, 15, of Waltham Forest College, is one of 22 youngsters chosen for this year's Unlocking Potential programme run by exam board AQA and the Dame Kelly Holmes (DKM) Trust.

Mr Fernando was nominated by teacher Jonathon Constable for showing 'remarkable' progress in his studies and so that he can follow his life-long ambition of becoming a successful basketball player.

"Ross was the first person that came to mind when it came to nominating students for the programme.

"He has made huge strides since joining Waltham Forest College last year.

"He has faced remarkable challenges in his young life but is now turning out to be a model student; going from poor attendance and low aptitude to 100 per cent attendance and is now a member of the Students' Union," said Mr Constable. 

The teenager will travel to Leicester Football Club on April 28 to meet with the high-profile sporting mentors.

Funded by the AQA, the programme, now in its third year, supports vulnerable 14 to 19 year olds facing challenging personal circumstances and helps them to improve their confidence.

Mr Fernando will be mentored for eight months by Romaine Bailey, a four-time British Taekwondo champion and coach with the DKM Trust since 2009.

Other athletes involved in this year's programme include boxing champion Hannah Beharry, swimming Olympian Ross Davenport and European skateboarding champion Neil Danns.

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