William Adeyeye is a young combined events talent who is motivating himself to the top, writes Emily Moss

“My name is William Adeyeye and I am no ordinary athlete. I am the one”. These are the words of wisdom that 15-year-old William claims contributed to his list of successes last year, which included three national titles indoors and outdoors.

The Thurrock Harrier claims that these words help motivate him by reminding him of his aims and successes. William’s self-talk appears to be working too, as last year he won the English Schools shot title, picked up England Athletics under-15 indoor long jump and shot titles and claimed bronze in the English Schools pentathlon.

Reflecting on 2015 and the experience of standing on top of the national podium for the first time, William says: “I was intrigued by my shot put win in the English Schools, as it was completely unexpected. I was totally mind-blown by what I threw. In the combined events, I was impressed with how I did, although I was a little disappointed to not get 3000 points. However, the one thing that made me happy was that my season was built on highs.”

But it was not all plain-sailing for William, as he was disappointed with how he did in the SIAB Schools Combined Events International in December, having earned his England call-up after his third place in the English Schools. “Unfortunately my coach was unable to make it to the SIAB Schools International in Glasgow,” he said. “I was proud to represent my country and represent England, while also making new friends. Despite my disappointing performance, my dad thought it taught me a valuable lesson and it’s a learning curve.”

William, who trains on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Thurrock and sometimes at the weekend at Lee Valley, is guided by Karl Sumun and is full of praise for his coach. “My coach has been a great help for me and my athletics,” he says. “He acts like a second dad, teaching me, talking to me about daily problems and helping me to keep fit. Therefore, one day we decided to call our team of 12-13 athletes ‘KAT’, standing for ‘Karl’s awesome team’.”

Indeed, it is his coach that William credits for the fact he got into multi-events in the first place. Introduced to athletics by his PE teacher, who thought he showed potential, William started out wanting to be a sprinter, as he had enjoyed watching Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

However, he explains: “I was introduced to multi-events by my coach. He brought me to my senses and made me realise that I’m not a sprinter, but I’m a hurdler. I started to get into the event and really enjoyed watching David Oliver. This drove a new belief in me and I started to hurdle along with the help of my coach, dad and internet research. I’m always looking at ways to improve my technique.”

This year William wants to make the transition to under-17 level and showed he is well on the way, having taken Southern indoor long jump gold and 60m hurdles bronze earlier this year. Beyond that, his aims include World Juniors and European Juniors and eventually major international championships as a senior athlete. He hopes he will continue to grow too, as so far he thinks his 5ft 11in 13st 2lb frame has proved to be an asset.

“It is purely down to muscle. My aim is to be 6ft 2in and 13st 4lb (85 kg), since my grandma was 6ft 4in,” he says.

Wanting to be an accountant or sports presenter when he finishes studying, the William Edwards School pupil also places emphasis on mental preparation before his big competitions. He says: “Usually before competitions, I like to listen to soul, jazz and fast-pace RnB music, especially Kendrick Lamar, who is my favourite rapper.

“His music makes me at ease and determined or sometimes aggressive. However, when it comes to big important competitions, I don’t play music, as I try to get in my ‘zone’ mentally and ensure I am physically prepared.”

You can find further performance stats on William on Power of 10 here.

» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk