A Hackney teenager is en route to achieving his Olympic dream after celebrating winning a silver medal at a prestigious track cycling tournament.
Tao Geoghegan Hart, who lives on the Nightingale Estate and is a pupil at Stoke Newington School, began his career just two years ago on the estates and parks of the borough.
His introduction to competitive cycling began with sessions at Cycling Club Hackney, which trains youngsters in the sport, and he has been coached by top talent-spotter Stuart Blunt.
The 16-year-old, who recently clinched five A stars and six As at GCSE, learnt to ride his first bike when he was three but didn’t start racing until he was 14.
He has since competed in national and international races, most recently representing Great Britain at European Youth Championships in Turkey.
“Fitting the cycling around my GCSEs was okay as long as I kept them balanced and managed to stay on top of everything,” Hart told the Citizen, before adding: “A levels will definitely be harder.”
Hart, who is sponsored by Condor Cycles and Rapha, aims to become a professional athlete.
He described as “amazing” the experience of competing at the British National Track Championships in Essex, where he bagged a bronze and two silver medals last month.
He added: “It’s really great racing on an international scale and representing your local borough. I am very proud to be a part of Cycling Club Hackney and I hope to inspire others and represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games one day.”
Asked where he likes to ride locally, Hart, who races on single speed Condor Leggero with a carbon fibre frame, said: “At present the best place I would say would probably be the canal. Some of the larger parks can also be good for riding. Just out of London there is the closed circuit cycle specific centre in Redbridge too.”
He wants to reach the top three at the British National Track Championships and you can track his progress via his regularly updated blog./ 7 September, 2011