Mo Farah former teacher honoured for 2011 sporting achievements


Alan Watkinson was the toast of Twickenham last week after being honoured at the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards.


By Ben Baker

MO FARAH’S former teacher Alan Watkinson was the toast of Twickenham last week after being honoured for his sporting achievements in 2011 at the Aviva School Sport Matters Awards.

The 47-year-old won the School Sport Teacher of the Year award for his commitment to sport at Isleworth & Syon School for Boys, former stomping ground of world 5000m champion Farah.

A host of Olympic and Paralympic legends past and present – including James Cracknell, Tim Brabants, Gail Emms, Duncan Goodhew and David Weir – rubbed shoulders with Watkinson, who also taught Farah at Feltham Community College.

Set up in 2004 – Aviva and the Daily Telegraph have worked together to showcase and celebrate the successes and developments in school sport.

And after picking up some silverware, Watkinson, from Twickenham, admitted the glittering awards ceremony at the home of English rugby will live long in the memory.

“Winning the award was a bit of a bolt out of the blue as although I was nominated I never really expected to win the whole thing,” said Watkinson.

“I used to have a lot of involvement with Mo but that wasn’t really on my mind when I heard I had been nominated because that was some time ago.

“I taught Mo at both Feltham Community and my current school now and there were some problems with visas when he was a youngster an I did my best to help him out.

“And it was great to see him go on and do really well and he is such a nice guy and shows great humility that people want to help him out.

“We are still in contact now and I was actually his best man at his wedding last year. It is a bit more difficult to stay in touch now but we speak occasionally.

“I don’t tend to bombard him with text messages as he has other things on his mind but hopefully I will send him a congratulatory one at next year’s Olympics.”

Watkinson received his award from England and former Arsenal physiotherapist Gary Lewin at Twickenham last week.

And Lewin, who began his career as a goalkeeper in Arsenal’s academy, was quick to praise the efforts of Watkinson.

“The School Sport Matters Awards is a really important thing to have in this country as it is important to recognise the efforts young people and teachers make,” said Lewin.

“Teachers have a lot of pressure to give up their free time and help kids get involved with sport but they do it and it is great to see.

“Alan clearly deserves this award and it is great recognition for him and the other winners too, they have all shown great commitment and I am really pleased for them.”

The Aviva and Daily Telegraph School Sport Matters Awards recognise outstanding achievements in school sport across the country, and are part of Aviva’s wider commitment to support the next generation of British sporting talent. For more information go to

Related Articles