b'BLUE RIBANDBirmingham City Football Club SuccessI started my football career at the age ofstarted to get tough. I started studying for four but I never thought that I would havethe 11+ in the first national lockdown. You a football career one day. Balancing schoolwould have thought that the lockdown life, gymnastics, football and tennis waswould have meant that I had a lot of time easy and I really enjoyed it all. At the ageto study, but my club career was also of six I was scouted for a club so I decideddemanding. I still had four online meetings to focus on football and football only,a week with Birmingham City. The sessions working harder and harder every day. Bylasted from half an hour up to two hours. I the time I was eight I was playing for Astonreally enjoyed the experience but wished to Villa, Birmingham City, West Brom andbe back on the pitch. Some of the fun bits Wolverhampton, all at the same time, on topof the lockdown were the competitions set of playing in the Sunday League. I was onlyby Blues, such as the toilet paper challenge thinking of football and even more football.and the three-round challenge. The three- playing five times After a year or so playing for four clubs, Iround challenge included kick-ups, bina week, plus school work and was starting to get offered contracts. Theshots and wall bounces. I was fortunatehomework making things tougher and first club that offered me a contract wasto win the challenge. I was also very luckytougher. Many people say I do too much; Wolverhampton and then Birmingham Cityto have been involved in online chats withbut you know, there is no free lunch when came along too. I liked both clubs and haveGeraldo Bajrami, Nathan Redmond andfollowing a dream. So, I go for it. I am friends in both places, but life is full of toughJude Bellingham. happy and proud of my achievements so far decisions. Looking back now, it is certainlyIn 2021 I started at Handsworth Grammarand hope to continue to develop them. I will a decision that I am proud of. and I found the demands of school and mykeep you posted on my career!It wasnt until March 2020 when thingsfootball club to be challenging. Now I amArijus Ahmadian (7G)Howzat! Going for GOLD!Sport has always been my biggest interest;Congratulations to Litem-Roy I have been playing football since the age ofMcintyre-Smith (8 Henry) on winning three, and cricket since I was six. My family arethe Most Promising Newcomer Award huge cricket fans and they themselves haveat the recent Royal Sutton Coldfield played at local, regional and county level. I wasAthletics (RSCAC) awards evening. always keen to follow in their footsteps. Litem joined RSCAC last summer after a successful trial, which gained from I began playing at Old Hill Cricket Club fivethe hard work and determination in his years ago in the under 10s team. I havegames lessons.progressed through the age groups and nowHe has achieved two gold medals play for the under 14s. My cricketing abilityin his first two races for the club, has enabled me to play for other clubs too,attaining a personal best time of 9.52s and I recently began playing adult cricket within the 75m Sprint Event. This ranked Wolverhampton Asian Sports, which was aThings were going really well until the pandemicLitem fifth in the UK for the 2021 great experience and I was able to hold mystarted, and my normal routine becameseason! Certainly, a name to look out own against adult players. disrupted. My daily timetable of work, train, eat,for in the future.Three years ago, Old Hill put me forward forsleep, repeat changed. Although we couldnt trials at Worcestershire County Cricket Club.meet face to face I was given regular exercises After a morning of challenging tasks andand activities to complete at home including activities, my hard work finally paid off and theyobstacle courses, batting, fielding and bowling selected me for their Youth Academy. This wasexercises in addition to online learning. This a fantastic achievement and made me and mywas a different experience for me but fun at the family extremely proud as well as giving mysame time as I enjoyed training and playing the friends a lot of inspiration. game I love, although I was eager to get back Juggling two sports as well as my educationon the field and play with my team again.has always been challenging. However, I knowAt the same time I began studying for my 11+ these sports are good for me both physicallywhich was also difficult as I was being home-and mentally and I have learnt team-buildingschooled and training. Fortunately, I managed and leadership skills and increased myto undertake all the tasks and when I got my confidence. Captaining teams has really helpedplace at school, I was ecstatic. However, I me to work with others and I have becomeknew this also meant it would be even harder a more assured leader. Now I listen to otherto juggle my education and sport, but when peoples opinions and try to understand theiryou are trying to accomplish a goal, there are point of view which benefits the team as ano obstacles or hurdles!whole. Milan Patel (7W)35'