The first Issue of ‘Behind the Line’ – the Everyone Active Sporting Champions e-magazine – has launched. This first issue shines a light on our elite athletes’ exploits at the recent 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Issue number one also takes a look at the re-launch of the scheme itself. After a couple of trying years during the pandemic, the decision was made to re-launch and slightly re-imagine the scheme.
Rather than having a very large number of athletes and sports people on differing levels of support as previously, we decided to give all our athletes the same level of support and to appoint a small number of Elite Athletes to really champion the scheme.
When we say Elite, we really mean Elite. This group consists of multiple Paralympic Champions, Olympic medallists, European Champions and Commonwealth Champions. The best of the best. Their role is to promote the programme and use their experience and expertise to help support our Sporting Champions through their careers.
Lauren Steadman MBE
Lauren is one of the best-known British Para athletes. She competes both as a triathlete and as a specialist swimmer. Lauren made her Paralympic debut at Beijing in 2008 as a swimmer, before competing again in the pool four years later in London. It was the 2016 Rio Paralympics where she switched to para-triathlon and immediately made an impression, winning the silver medal, before claiming gold in the same event at Tokyo 2020.
Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova
Gymnnasts Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova had a breakthrough year in 2021 at the age of just 16. As well as winning bronze as part of the British artistic gymnastics team at Tokyo 2020, Jessica also won a gold, silver and bronze medal – in the floor, vault and all-round disciplines respectively – at the 2021 European Championships in Basel, Switzerland. Meanwhile, her triumph in Tokyo, Jennifer also claimed silver at the 2019 World Junior Championships on the vault.
Richard is a sprinter who competed and found success at Tokyo 2020 – winning the silver medal in the 4x100m relay before being stripped of the medal due to a doping violation by one of his team mates. He’s also a former World and double European 60m indoor champion.
Kadeena Cox MBE, OBE
One of the most successful Paralympians of her generation, Kadeena can only be described as a legend of the athletics world. Equally successful on the athletics track as in the velodrome, Kadeena has won golds as a para-sprinter and a para-cyclist at two Olympic Games.
Maisie is a young para-swimmer who is taking the sport by storm. While still a teenager, Maisie competed in her first Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 and came away with two gold medals – one in the 200m medley and the other in the 100m breaststroke. She’s also the 2019 World 200m medley Champion and the 2018 European 200m medley Champion.
Lutalo is an Olympic silver medal-winning taekwondo athlete who has competed in both the sub-80kg and sub-87kg classes at the games. Lutalo has won Olympic bronze and silver, as well as gold at the 2012 European Championships. Lutalo is the most successful male British taekwondo athlete in history.
As well as our Elite Athletes, we also support more than 1,000 athletes on the scheme as Sporting Champions. These sports people enjoy free membership to their local centre, allowing them to train for free, as well as having access to mentoring days run by our Ambassador – hurdling great Colin Jackson. These are also attended by our Elite Athletes, where they can share their wisdom and experience of competing at the highest level with our Sporting Champions. These mentoring days also include important lessons away from competition. These include media training, help with nutrition and how to handle financial issues.
Sporting Champions Ambassador: Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson, CBE, is currently our only Sporting Champions Ambassador and he performs sterling work in this role. As legitimate athletics royalty, there are few who can rival him as a mentor, motivator and a guide. Twice a World Champion at the 110m hurdles, and long-time world-record holder for both the 110m outdoor and the 60m indoor events, Colin’s role is to use his experience and expertise to pass on to the next generation of super-talented youngsters – both to our Elite athletes and those entering the scheme at the Sporting Champion level. Colin will be available to the athletes at a number of mentoring days throughout the year, each of which focus on a different aspect of a young sports person’s life.
2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games
This year has seen many of our Sporting Champions – both from the main scheme and Elite Athletes – taking part in the Commonwealth Games and several of them experienced enormous success!
Georgia-Mae Fenton became the first woman in history to retain the Commonwealth uneven bars title.
Ashley McKenzie won gold in the men’s 60kg judo final, making him a double Commonwealth champion.
Daryll Neita won bronze in the 100m, her first ever individual championship medal. She was also part of the women’s 4x100m relay team, winning a silver medal.
Paralympic wheelchair racer Danny Sidbury won silver in the 1500m final.
Hannah Cockroft, seven-time Paralympic champion and 12-time world gold medallist won her first Commonwealth gold in the T33/34 100m wheelchair racing final alongside her team mate and Sporting Champion Fabienne André, who won bronze.
Maisie Summers-Newton added Commonwealth title to her World, Paralympic and European wins.
Olivia Breen won a gold medal and got a new PB in the women’s T37/38 100m final.
Jona Efoloko won a gold medal as part of the 4x100m relay team.
This fantastic success at one of the world’s most prestigious sporting tournaments is testament to the efficacy of the Everyone Active Sporting Champions scheme – helping young, talented athletes get the most out of their abilities.