Sporting Champion scheme to give next generation of Stratford athletes a leg up - The Stratford Observer

Sporting Champion scheme to give next generation of Stratford athletes a leg up

UP-AND-COMING athletes from the district are being given a leg up thanks to a sports talent training programme.

Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme has helped thousands of athletes to achieve their sporting potential over the past seven years by providing free access to its leisure centres.

And among the athletes accepted on the scheme from Stratford district this year are Isabella Balzaretti from Newbold-on-Stour – a waterpolo player and part of the U17 GB national squad, Paula Williams from Stratford – an athlete, currently number one in the UK for shot putt, sprint hurdles and javelin for her age group, and Charles Squires, also from Stratford and a rugby player selected to progress to the senior section of the Ultimate Rugby Sevens National academy.

Alongside free access to Everyone Active centres, Sporting Champions will also have the chance to receive valuable mentoring and guidance from an impressive panel of Elite athletes.

The scheme’s all-star line-up of decorated Olympians and Paralympians includes Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Lutalo Muhammad, Richard Kilty, Lauren Steadman, Kadeena Cox and Maisie Summers-Newton.

Throughout the year, 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.

Tokyo 2020 paratriathlon champion and cross-country skier Lauren Steadman said: “I’m super proud to be an Elite athlete for this year’s Sporting Champions scheme, helping to mentor, guide and inspire up-and-coming athletes in their sporting careers.

“The fact there is now a brand creating opportunities and supporting younger athletes to achieve their full potential is amazing. I hope I can share my knowledge and experience with the Sporting Champions through our mentoring days and that together we can create an incredible future generation of athletes.”

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