- 2010 Daily Mail RBS Schools champion to throw in London 2012 discus final
- It's great what he’s achieved - former team mate - Marland Yarde
Photo: RFU Archive
Former Whitgift School student and Under 18 RBS Daily Mail Cup winner Lawrence Okoye has qualified for the London 2012 Olympics discus final which takes place this evening.
Nicknamed the “English Lomu” after helping Whitgift secure their second consecutive Daily Mail RBS Schools title at Twickenham in 2010, the six foot six inch heavy weight made the full time transition to athletics after winning the English Schools title with a throw of 65 meters.
His success on the discus field sparked the Croydon born youngster’s decision to move away from rugby union and defer a place at Oxford University, instead dedicating himself to a chance of competing at a home Olympics.
Speaking to the Daily Mail last year, former wing Okoye said:
“It was all to do with London and the Games. You don't get that chance twice so I decided it was a good investment to give it my best shot for two years. It would have been completely different if the Games had been anywhere else.”
Photo: Capture the Event
Lawrence’s debut appearance at the Olympic Stadium saw him record two disappointing throws, because a mighty 65.28m effort booked his place in tomorrow’s final, much to the excitement of the home crowd.
“The standard was unbelievably high” commented Okoye following today’s qualifying round. “Much higher than it’s ever been. I didn’t think I’ve had to pull out something as big as that but I had to, and the crowd just got me through it.
“It’s been a hard two years, but I’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure I finish those two years well. Tomorrow is a different story and I’ve got to work hard to pull it out of the bag.”
Former England U20 wing Marland Yarde was quick to wish his former Whitgift team mate luck ahead of the final.
"It's great what he's achieved and I'll be making the time to cheer him on. It wasn't even that long ago he was doing some damage on the rugby field so to see how far he’s come in a relatively short space of time is amazing."
“He’s a confident guy and was always pretty sporty at school – he would have had a serious chance of making it in rugby but you can hardly blame him for wanting to take this opportunity. Particularly in a home Olympics games with a partisan crowd cheering him on.”
From everyone at the RFU, we wish Lawrence and Team GB the best of luck!