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World Champion Adam Gemili is the perfect role model for ambitious Dartford Grammar School students

The 23-year-old went back to Dartford Grammar School to open a new running track, but he also spoke to all the students across two packed assemblies about how they can push themselves to achieve their goals.

As well as a day of excitement for the youngsters, it was also a day for reflection for the man himself.

Adam Gemili lines up with Year 11 pupils for a race

Adam Gemili lines up with Year 11 pupils for a race

Seven years after leaving he still clearly harbours a great deal of affection for his old school, with fond memories of old teachers and his closest friends.

“I love coming back here,” he said as he waited to surprise pupils in the main hall, with his trademark grin etched across his face.

“Honestly I can’t believe how much the school has changed. You can almost do a whole lap of it now.”

Adam Gemili with sixth form girl runners

Adam Gemili with sixth form girl runners

Any old boys who have not been back to DGS in recent years would no doubt be similarly stunned to see what is new, with huge amounts of work done across the site, from a huge science lecture hall to a new canteen.

Some of Adam’s old classmates have now started teaching at the school.

One of them is George Washbourn, who was on the relay team alongside Adam when house Wilson set a still unbeaten 4x100m school record on sports day when they were in Year 10.

Adam Gemili races some of the Year 13 pupils on the new track

Adam Gemili races some of the Year 13 pupils on the new track

His old PE teacher Gary Jones recalled: “I remember it vividly.

“I was standing with (headmaster) Mr Oakes and I remember I said to him: ‘Watch this. This is going to be special.’”

No doubt the school field in Baker Crescent has played a key role in Adam’s extraordinary rise from wannabe footballer to world champion sprinter, with mum Sacha “in awe” of her son.

Adam Gemili talks to Year 13 pupils after running with them

Adam Gemili talks to Year 13 pupils after running with them

He certainly recognises that and it means the trips home from his training base in Holland are all the sweeter.

But it is not just his sporting prowess that has left an impression on those who are still at DGS.

Adam Gemili, right with his old teacher Gary Jones, head of Sport and Games, cutting the ribbon on the new track

Adam Gemili, right with his old teacher Gary Jones, head of Sport and Games, cutting the ribbon on the new track

Headmaster John Oakes said: “I think it’s fair to say that Adam is now one of the pin-ups and role medals for British athletics and more than that he’s such a splendid and delightful young man.

“He is a great role model in athletics but he’s also a great role model for what you can achieve through hard work as well.”

No doubt that Adam will keep checking in on Dartford to see friends, family, and his old school, with the borough council keen for him to switch on the Christmas lights again this year.

Adam, left, with headmaster John Oakes

Adam, left, with headmaster John Oakes

And the allure of his favourite Nando’s in nearby Crayford is still as hard to resist as ever.

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