World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has come a long way since going to school at King’s Langley School in Hertfordshire and winning Olympic gold in London in 2012.
Director of sport John Annett has fond memories of his former pupil.
When and what was it about him/her that first made them stand out?
From the start of Anthony's life at Kings Langley, it was evident that he had a natural talent for physical activity, especially football and athletics. His natural speed and height were made for both sports and he held four school athletics records.
How easy was he to coach?
I found Anthony very easy to coach in the physical education department although this may not have been the case in some of the other subjects he studied. Anthony would agree that he was a lovable rogue when he was at Kings Langley. He clearly enjoyed his sport and he was always keen to listen and try his best to make progress and improve on his level of ability.
How determined was he to succeed?
Anthony was a fully committed young man. He never liked losing and would always give his best to ensure team success. This was epitomised during his Olympic gold medal fight.
What difference or influence did you make to his game?
I made very little impact on his boxing skills as he hadn't even taken up the sport while he was at Kings Langley. I hope that we had some effect on his drive to succeed and the fact that any obstacle can be overcome if you are prepared to work hard.
How much of an all-round sportsperson was he?
Anthony represented his county Hertfordshire at football, as well as setting four school athletics records and being a very talented basketball player.
Can you recall a particularly memorable school match or event in which he was involved?
Travelling to county football fixtures was never easy for Anthony, especially those that included long distances. I once took him home after a game and was impressed with his mature attitude towards success and defeat. His performance in the game was outstanding and he caused a great deal of trouble for the opposing defenders. His calm and composed approach to his own performance was mature beyond his age. At one fixture he was the first to arrive and the look on the opposition's faces as a 6ft 2ins tall 15-year-old walked into the changing rooms was priceless.
Did you always know he was going to be successful and how pleasing has it been following his success?
I think I always knew that Anthony was going to do well at one sport, but certainly not at boxing. He had such an abundance of natural talent that he was always going to be successful at whatever he put his hand to.
What's your over-riding memory of him and have you managed to keep in touch?
Sometimes I would have to tell Anthony off for his behaviour in another subject, but it was the hardest thing to do. He towered over me and he had the most fantastic smile and mischievous laugh that it was really difficult to take the situation seriously. He was genuinely a tremendous young man to teach in PE. Unfortunately, Anthony's life changed once he left Kings Langley and he would be the first to admit that some of the individuals he mixed with were detrimental to his progress. This meant he lost touch with school. But I am so proud of the fact that he has become an outstanding role model for future children to look up to. He is an inspiration to our students and we would dearly love to have him back in to school.
(This article first appeared in 2013)
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We taught…Anthony Joshua