Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
We’re only a few months away from the 2012 Olympics held in London, England this year. That means the torch has started to make its way across England to the official lighting in the Olympic Stadium.
One of the 8,000 torch bearers this year is Mitchell Allen, a judo superstar. At the age of 18, this Merthyr Tydfil teen has spent the last 5 years clocking over 2,000 community hours helping able and disabled men, women and children learn the great art of Judo. He coaches and runs 2 local judo clubs in the area and all the while still maintaining good grades and planning for his future. He is now in the University of Glamorgan, studying forensic science.
According to news reports, he was inspired to do all this work when he first "…coached a five-year-old boy with spina bifida and used it to the benefit of the rest of the local community."
Being named a torch bearer is one of many awards this youth has received. He was recognized in both 2008 and 2010 South Wales Police Authority Making a Difference award as an outstanding Youth Volunteer. And last year, he was recognized as one of the second annual Inspire Wales Awards finalist in the Young Achievers category. He has also been selected to "… Officiate at the 2011 UK School Games and for the 2012 Commonwealth tournament in Wales." [Torch Relay nomination].
Mitchell Allen officially gets his torch May 26th, 2012 in Laleston. Mitchell won’t be alone on his run. His sister, Steffi Allen-griffiths, 14, will be joining him. Her story is just as inspiring. Despite battling a crippling arthritis, she has volunteered to help others in her community. She’s pushed herself to become an accomplished dancer and judo student. She has "… has been selected to be a Judo GB World Cup Player Escort in Oct 2011 together with managing to do all her acting and theatrical work that she does Bilingually she really is a true Welsh Young Ambassador." [Torch Relay nomination].
The family has even been recognized in 2010 at the Wales & West Housing awards for their contributions. They have the distinction to be the "only brother and sister duo to pass the Olympic torch to each other during its 70 day historic journey across the UK." [Tai Wales & West Housing]
Mitchell and Steffi, have fun out there today as you carry the Olympic torch! You are an inspiration to us all and a great example of truly living the Martial Arts way.