The HITZ programme launched in early 2010 aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and break down barriers between police and young people aged 11-19 year olds, by offering participation in rugby and supporting them into education, employment and volunteering. It is delivered by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs Harlequins, London Irish and Saracens and is supported by the Mayor's Office, the Metropolitan Police, Active Communities Network, children's charity Wooden Spoon, the Rugby Football Union, The Rugby Football Foundation and Premiership Rugby.
The programme currently runs across the capital in six boroughs - Hackney, Islington, Hounslow, Ealing, Southwark and Croydon, with week night coaching taking place in local parks. To date it has reached in excess of 1500 children and young people - for most of those taking part this has been their first experience of playing the game.
18 year old Gabriella, from Bermondsey, was part of the Southwark programme, held at Burgess Park, home of the Southwark Tigers. She was commended by both Samsung and David Beckham for her outstanding work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds using her sporting talents. As well as being an accomplished rugby player, with the potential to play at a high level, Gabriella has competed for English schools in the shot put, represents Herne Hill Harriers at all the throwing events and is a black belt in Taekwondo. "I am so excited to be chosen by Samsung and David Beckham to become Samsung's first London 2012 Torchbearer nominee. My goal is to make a real difference by helping others realise that it's not where you are from in life that's important but where you can go. I don't believe I am any different from anyone else, but I do believe that everyone can offer something" Gabriella Roseje.
David Beckham commented: "Gabriella is an impressive and inspiring person. Not only is she successful in her own right, she willingly supports and helps those around her. Gabriella stands out for all the right reasons. I am proud to nominate her as Samsung's first Olympic Torchbearer." David's comments were echoed by Mr Gyehyun Kwon, Vice President and Head of Worldwide Sports Marketing, Samsung Electronics, who said: "Gabriella is an inspiration to us all."
Chair of LOCOG, the Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Game, Lord Coe, said: "Samsung's Olympic Torch Relay campaign really fits in with our vision of ensuring that everyone can become an active participant and help deliver the London 2012 Games. I hope that the nomination of Gabriella inspires many people to think about others who have gone beyond their personal best and demonstrated true Olympic qualities."
Jai Purewal, Community Project Development Director for Wooden Spoon added, "We are all so pleased to be able to offer such a wonderful opportunity to Gabriella who is a credit to her family and the HITZ project. She is an excellent example of how rugby and sport can have a positive impact on a young person's life. Everything Gabriella has achieved up until now is all down to her determination and drive to succeed, she should be immensely proud of herself."
Watch the video below to find out why Gabriella was nominated.
For more information about the project please go to http://www.hitzrugby.com/
Company No 1847860 Registered in England 115-117 Fleet Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 3PD.
Reg Charity in England and Wales No: 326691, Scotland No: SC039247