Herne Hill Harriers are saddened by the death of one of our young athletes, Sylvester Akpalara, who died on 29 December. Sylvester had been a member of the club since he was 12 and competed for the club in the National Young Athletes League, the Southern Men’s League and the Ebbisham League and also contested numerous London Schools, Surrey County, South of England and National Championships as well as three English Schools Championships, where he finished both 5th and 7th in 400m finals as a Junior Boy.
In 2008 he won a bronze medal in the U15 800m at the National U15 Boys Indoor Championships in Birmingham and also won the U15 Boys 400m Surrey title and placed 3rd in the South of England Championships. His performances also appeared in national rankings at every stage of his athletics career, including a placing of 21st for 400m as an U17 in 2010 with a best of 50.4.
Many will remember him running cracking legs in the 4 x 400m relay at NYAL matches and he also ran for the club over 200m and 800m. He was a quiet, unassuming lad who never complained about doing an extra event for the team – he often ran himself close to exhaustion for the club’s benefit. He was a reliable team member and rarely late for matches, even if he had to travel further than most just to get to the coach.
He enjoyed athletics and made many friends both in the club and within the sport. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.