An Olympic legend has become patron of the London Pole Vault Academy based in Sutton.
Sergey Bubka, who is still the world record holder for pole vault, has become a patron of the academy, based at Sutton Arena.
He is still the only athlete ever to win at six world championships and it is hoped he will be able to pass on some of his vast knowledge to the next generation of London vaulters when he visits the academy.
Alan Williams, who won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and who now runs the academy, said it was a huge coup for them.
He said: “It’s fabulous to have Sergey involved. He is a legend in the sport and I was knocked out when he agreed to get involved.
“He does not want to just put his name to it, he wants to be part of what is going on here. He goes about his business the same way he went about his athletics, with pure passion and determination.”
Mr Williams, 59, said how honoured he was to welcome the Ukrainian into the fold.
He said: “I remember when Sergey first started out. Nobody had seen anything like it.
“I remember him from a few meets when he was young and I can recall seeing him break the world record at Crystal Palace. He was brilliant, and I just hope he can inspire the next generation.”
Although Mr Williams will not see any of his squad members competing at the Olympics this year, he has high hopes for four years’ time. He said: “We have two or three who I hope will make the grade in four years’ time. “We have a young lady who has just become the youngest woman to clear 4m in the UK, so things are looking good for the future. And with Sergey on board, anything is possible.”
Bubka will be in London for the Olympics and Mr Williams, who launched the academy in September, is hoping he will be visiting Sutton Arena.