Whilst working at the English Institute of Sport between 2005 and 2007, Roberto had the privilege of working with some of the country’s most talented athletes including teenage sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey who was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2005.
17 year old Aikines-Aryeetey won both the 100m and 200m at the World Youth Championships in Marrakech and had already picked up the Rising Star Award from the sport’s governing body, the IAAF and was the first athlete in the six-year history of the World Youth Championships to claim the sprint double
Jeanette Kwakye won a bronze medal in 4×100 metres relay at the 2002 World Junior Championships. At the 2007 European Indoor Championships she finished fourth in the 60 metres. In the semi-final she recorded a time of 7.17 seconds, this being the fastest time by a British woman in the 60m since 1986. Kwakye, became the 2007 British Champion over 100m in a time of 11.59, beating Laura Turner(who recorded the same time) and defending champion Joice Maduaka. The next day, she also won the 200m title, after beating Emily Freeman and Donna Fraser, who took silver and bronze, respectively.
In the 2008 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia Kwakye equalled the British 60m record of 7.13 by Bev Kinch in her semi-final before smashing it with a superb 7.08 run to claim silver behind American Angela Williams who won in 7.06, this placing Kwakye as number 2 in the 2008 world female rankings.
On 12 July 2008, Kwakye defended her British 100m title, whilst also winning the Olympic trials, and was accordingly automatically selected to compete at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Her time of 11.26 equalled her then lifetime best.
2008 Summer Olympics
In the heats of the 100 metres, Kwakye finished in second place behind Torri Edwards, clocking a time of 11.30 seconds, allowing her to progress through to the quarter-final stage. In the quarter-final, she was beaten to the line by Shelly-Ann Fraser and Evgeniya Polyakova, but still qualified for the semi-final by finishing in third place. In the semi-final on 17 August 2008, Kwakye finished third, with a time of 11.19. She became the first British woman to reach the 100 metres final sinceHeather Oakes in 1984. At these Olympics, Kwakye was also the only Europeanathlete to appear in the final. In the final, she clocked 11.14, a personal best, to finish in sixth place, ahead of Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas and Torri Edwards of the USA
Great Britain reached the final of the 4×100 metres relay, and along with the Jamaican team, were favourites to claim a medal. Kwakye ran a good first bend in the final, but the British team failed to finish due to a mix-up in the changeover between Montell Douglas and Emily Freeman. Jamaica also failed to finish after a similar error between Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.