Jack of all trades Bakare aims to be master of one
PETER BAKARE has many strings to his bow - acting, animation, writing - but the volleyballer has vowed to be a jack of one trade in search of London 2012 stardom.
THE BALL IS MIGHTIER THAN THE PEN: Peter Bakare has put his hobbies on hold as he goes in search of London 2012 glory in volleyball
The 21-year-old has made leaps and bounds in volleyball since moving across from basketball, and has just finished his first full season for Landstede Zwolle in the Dutch league, helping them finish fifth before losing in their play-off quarter final.
This earned him a Great Britain call-up ahead of summer games with Croatia, Slovenia and Belgium in the European League, as well as a fourth year on the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative.
However it could have been very different for Bakare, who began acting and drawing animation before writing scripts for television series Skins.
But with his inclusion another step towards a dream Olympic outing, Bakare is happy to down his pen if it leads to London 2012.
"Playing in the Dutch league this season has been great as it was my first season in a fully professional set up," said Bakare, handpicked as one of 344 up-and-coming athletes across the United Kingdom to receive £1,000 of funding from Lloyds TSB.
"It has been a big step up for me and the opposition has been a lot harder but I have learnt as much in this one season than I have done all seasons before this.
"But the domestic season is all over now and I was delighted to earn selection for Great Britain ahead of some tough games this summer.
"I used to be into all sorts of things but I know athletes have to make sacrifices to achieve what they want and I want Olympic gold so I know what I have to do.
"The main aim for us is to just improve on what we did last year in every competition we enter because we all know we are on a road that leads to London 2012."
For most British athletes, the London 2012 countdown can't come soon enough as they get ready to strut their stuff in front of an eager home crowd.
But for East Londoner Bakare, he admits the stakes are higher as he bids to win the greatest prize of all in his backyard.
"Being brought up in the area of the Olympic Park I have seen the drastic change it has gone through and it has gone from baron wasteland to an amazing arena," he added.
"Aiming for the greatest prize on the biggest stage and having that stage in your back garden is pretty surreal.
"But I am determined to make that dream become a reality and I want to win the gold and it would mean so much for me to be a part of that as a Londoner."
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 344 emerging athletes all the way to London 2012 and beyond. Follow the future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at: www.lloydstsb.com/localheroes