Local athletes announced for Olympian-led sporting talent scheme

Next generation of talented athletes to be supported by Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme  

Up-and-coming athletes in West Berkshire 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 Northcroft Leisure Centre and Lido, Hungerford Leisure Centre and Kennet Leisure Centre.

Among the athletes on the scheme this year are:

  • Softball player Chelsie Robison, who won gold at the European Championships (top left)
  • Runner and triathlete Charlotte Bailey, who recently came third in a regional cross country at 14 years’ old (top right)

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 (bottom left).

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 (bottom right) 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 invested more than £2 million into young athletes across the country, proving its commitment to grassroots sporting excellence.

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

Richard May, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “Our 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 West Berkshire 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 West Berkshire 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.”

Nigel Foot, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our emerging athletic talent. The support and guidance provided is invaluable, and it is wonderful that young people are being given the chance to be mentored by the absolute best.”

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


The Sporting Champions scheme’s panel of elite athletes:

Lauren Steadman MBE:

Lauren has competed in four Paralympics, in both swimming and paratriathlon, winning gold in paratriathlon at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s individual PTS5 race. She is also a three-times world champion and a seven-times European champion. Lauren now has a new target – she is aiming to compete in cross-country skiing at the Winter Paralympics.

Lutalo Muhammad:

Lutalo is the most successful male in British taekwondo history, winning bronze and silver medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, respectively. He also won the gold medal in the -87kg class at the 2012 European Taekwondo Championships.

Maisie Summers-Newton:

Para swimmer who won two Paralympic golds at Tokyo 2020, as well as multiple world, European and Commonwealth titles. Maisie was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to swimming. In 2023, Maisie won the Overall Athletes categories in the Citi Para Swimming World Series and was awarded Para-Swimmer of the Year at the British Swimming Awards.

Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova:

Part of the Team GB bronze medal-winning gymnastics line-up at Tokyo 2020. Jessica was also crowned all-around champion at the European Championships 2023

Richard Kilty:

A core member of the Team GB sprint relay team, Richard is one of the few British athletes to have won medals in every major indoor and outdoor championships, including gold in the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships as a relay runner and gold in the European and world indoors as a 60m specialist.

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey:

Another Team GB sprint relay star, Harry has won medals at each of the past three Commonwealth Games, including gold at Birmingham 2022 and Gold Coast 2018. He is also a three-times gold medallist at the European Championships and won individual bronze in the 100m in the 2014 Europeans.

Everyone Active

Everyone Active is the trading name for Sports Leisure Management (SLM), which operates leisure centres in partnership with local councils across England. SLM Ltd was formed in 1987, managing just one leisure centre in the Midlands. Today, Everyone Active manages in excess of 200 leisure facilities and cultural services in partnership with more than 60 local authorities. These stretch from Sunderland in the north to Mid Suffolk in the east, Chichester in the south and Bristol in the south west. The company’s growth is due to the ability to deliver well-managed leisure facilities and an activity offering which provides great value for money. Everyone Active aims to increase the participation of local people in leisure activities, advocating a minimum of 30 minutes exercise, five times per week. www.everyoneactive.com




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