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The story of three teenagers coming-of-age in Tower Hamlets; an Olympic borough, whose lives have been changed by an innovative sports scheme.

“For me, it just feels like how it felt from day one. You're stuck here, you're going to stay here. For better or worse, you are someone from the gutter" (Oli, 18)

Tower Hamlets in London is one of the most deprived parts of the country: gang culture is commonplace, there is a lack of well paid jobs, and high rates of disease and ill health. It is also one of the boroughs hosting the upcoming Olympics. Against this backdrop three young people are refusing to conform to stereotypes. Instead they devote their time to teaching and inspiring a new generation of children in sports ranging from football to fencing, hoping to create a legacy in time for the Olympics in 2012.

18 year old Oli turned his back on the street gang that formed his social circle to run one of the biggest sports clubs for young children in the area, losing his pronounced stutter only when he teaches; 19 year old Marlan has been able to support his young family with income earned as a sports teacher; and 19 year old Iffath has helped to turn racial and sexual prejudices on their head, helping others to look beyond the hijab and see the football player inside.

Oli, Marlan and Iffath tell their own stories, in their own words. Sport has given them their voice, and one they will fight to keep. As they train groups of young children to take part in the biggest inter-school sports competition in the borough, we see them losing themselves in the game, taming bad behaviour and spotting gifted youngsters. Off the pitch, they’re dealing with the unique growing pains of being a teenager in Tower Hamlets: forming new friendships, embarking on university, providing for their own families, and fighting the cultural prejudices that prevent some from reaching their full potential.

As well as a film about the power of sport, this is a film about the human spirit and fighting for what you believe in: As their lives take an unexpected turn, these teenagers are fighting to ensure that Britain has a sporting legacy to be proud of.

Film Credits

Directors: Katharine Round

Producers: Katharine Round, Neil Garrett

Photography: Katharine Round

Editing: Katharine Round

Sound: Katharine Round


UK Classification: None

Subtitles: No

Voiceover: No



Length: 18 min

Colour: Yes

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Out of the Game Screening:

  • Sun27May

    at Portobello PopUP Cinema

    27 May 2012 8:00 pm

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