Sydenham Girl & Olympic Bronze Medallist Collects another Award (and a Birthday Cake)
Britain may have done very well in the Beijing Olympics but most of those came from the “sitting down sports” (rowing, cycling & sailing). Athletics was more challenging and it was a former Sydenham Schoolgirl that came home with a bronze in the 400 metres hurdles.
It was the last Olympic chance for 31 year old Tasha who came 8th in the 2000 Sydney Olmpics but had to miss the 2004 Athens Olympics to have baby son, Jaden. Then ranked sixth in the world she had to rebuild her running career to take third place (and nearly second) in 2008 with a personal best time of 53.84 seconds.
Tasha’s parents, Dorrett and Donald, were both athletes who moved to London from Jamaica. Dorett competed in the high jump and javelin for Croydon Harriers. However Tasha followed her father into sprint hurdling, she at Sydenham Girls School, he at Herne Hill Harriers.
All this and more was remembered when more than 100 people, including Tasha’s family and friends, local MP Jim Dowd and current students from her old school gave her a hero’s welcome at the Broadway Theatre, Catford. Tasha was presented with a framed certificate by Mayor Steve Bullock and an Olympic-themed surprise birthday cake was unveiled to celebrate her 31st birthday on 19 September.
Tasha said: “I just want to thank everybody who helped me get where I am today. I couldn’t have done it alone. The support and encouragement I got from my family, friends, teachers and coaches kept me going, especially when things got hard. I am just like any other girl – I had a dream. Anybody can have a dream and realise that dream. It just takes hard work, focus and commitment. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. If I can inspire even one person to do that, then I will be happy.”
The medal, a son, a husband (her former coach) is not enough for Tasha. She is an accomplished artist and is busy setting up a career as a personal trainer and motivational speaker speaker.
Tasha’s decision to postpone her career to have a baby has caused controversy when a Roman Catholic organisation that alleged she was pressured to have an abortion and used her choice to campaign against choice in abortion.