Buckinghamshire athletes announced for Olympian-led sporting talent scheme

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Up-and-coming athletes in Buckinghamshire are set to gain much-needed support as part of a sports talent development programme.

Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, now in its eighth year, has helped more than 5,000 athletes to achieve their sporting potential by providing free access to Everyone Active’s 230-plus leisure facilities, including Chilterns Lifestyle Centre, Chalfont Leisure Centre and Chesham Leisure Centre.

Among the athletes accepted on the scheme in Buckinghamshire this year are:

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· Swimmer Elizabeth Gray, who is currently a British Masters record holder in the 200m individual medley

Sporting Champions ambassador, Colin JacksonSporting Champions ambassador, Colin Jackson
Sporting Champions ambassador, Colin Jackson

· Para-rower Mari Durward-Akhurst, who holds the world record for the 5k row in their disability category

Alongside free access to Everyone Active centres, Sporting Champions will also receive valuable mentoring and guidance from an impressive panel of Elite athletes, some of whom look set to compete at Paris 2024.

The scheme’s all-star line-up of decorated Olympians and Paralympians includes Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Lutalo Muhammad, Richard Kilty, Lauren Steadman and Maisie Summers-Newton, while new to the panel for 2024 is GB sprint star Harry Aikines-Aryeetey*.

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These Elite athletes will share their experience and expertise through group mentoring sessions, covering topics including mental wellbeing, nutrition, managing finances, social media and media training.

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson will also continue to support the scheme through his role as an Ambassador, working alongside the Elite athletes to make sport more accessible within local communities.

Colin said: "I'm passionate about nurturing young talent and the Sporting Champions scheme goes above and beyond in this mission. With the Olympics and Paralympics taking place in Paris this summer, the programme takes on even greater significance in 2024. Seeing these future champions flourish fuels my excitement for what's to come."

The Sporting Champions scheme has poured more than £2million into young athletes across the country, proving its commitment to grassroots sporting excellence.

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At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, no fewer than 30 Sporting Champions competed, taking home five gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

Steve Salwa, Everyone Active’s area contract manager, said: “Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme has been very successful in providing exceptional support to emerging talent and we are delighted to be once again supporting athletes from Buckinghamshire on their journey to success.

“It’s fantastic to see how the scheme has expanded over the years, now providing more than 1,000 athletes nationwide with access to top-quality training facilities and support.

“As a leisure provider working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council, we feel it is important to cater for all sections of the community. We hope to continue making a real difference to our athletes’ success and are excited to see what the relaunch of the scheme will bring this year.”

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Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure, said:

“Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme offers valuable opportunities for our local athletes to pursue their dreams. As Buckinghamshire proudly celebrates its heritage as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement in this year of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it's good to see initiatives which recognise the importance of supporting the talent and resilience of our local sporting stars.

“Buckinghamshire is home to many successful athletes and with this great scheme, we can help more local talent to achieve their potential and make their journey to success a little easier. After all, our young athletes promise an exciting future and inspire us all with their dedication and passion every year.”

To find out more about the Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, visit www.easportingchampions.com or follow @easportingchamps on Instagram. For further information on Everyone Active, visit www.everyoneactive.com.

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