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Sports cheer for two budding stars

PUBLISHED: 12:41 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:50 25 August 2010

TV FOCUS: Zoe Smith.

TV FOCUS: Zoe Smith.

AN OLYMPIC swimming hopeful is set to benefit from a charity s backing while a promising young weightlifter is being trailed by a BBC documentary crew.

AN OLYMPIC swimming hopeful is set to benefit from a charity's backing while a promising young weightlifter is being trailed by a BBC documentary crew.

Xavier Mohammed, 20, made a return to where he learnt to swim at Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich, in his role as ambassador for Starting Blocks, a charity set up to give young sports stars a helping hand.

Meanwhile Greenwich Starting Blocks Ambassador Zoe Smith, 15, from Abbey Wood, received financial help from the charity to help her training in 2007 aged 13.

She featured on BBC One's Olympic Dreams on Tuesday, which follows promising sportspeople for six months and monitors their approach and potential.

The charity paid for Mr Mohammed to return from Arizona State University, where he is on a scholarship studying economics, to compete in the British national swimming championships.

He aims to represent GB in the Commonwealth Games in India in October, and London 2012.

Mr Mohammed said: "Working as an ambassador for Starting Blocks means I attend functions and meet and greet people involved in sport. The scholarship helps pay for my swimming and to study.

"I received £1,000 from the charity. This paid for my flight and hotel to come back here and compete."

Mr Mohammed earned his first merit badges to sew on his swimming trunks when he was just seven-years-old at the Waterfront Leisure Centre. Now, he has taken part in a 2012 promotional video.

l TV presenter Steve Rider will host Starting Block's annual gala dinner on Sept 16 at The Valley, Charlton Athletic Football Club. Tickets are £75 including a £15 gift aid donation. To find out more about Starting Blocks and how to support the athletes, visit www.greenwichstartingblocks.org or call 020 8921 5040.

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