Eighty talented young athletes from across the Royal Borough of Greenwich have received a share of £53,000 from sports charity Greenwich Starting Blocks (GSB). The athletes will be supported by the charity in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Charitable Social Enterprise GLL, the GLL Sport Foundation and SportsAid.
The young athletes cover more than 20 Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic sporting disciplines between them. With a staggering 91% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 68% of recipients aged under 21, GSB plays a vital life line for Greenwich stars of the future.
And the funding really does make a difference, as two GSB supported athletes won a record three medals between them at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics last year. Susie Rodgers won both gold and bronze medals in para swimming and Daryll Neita won a bronze medal in the 4x100m athletics relay.
GSB ambassador and Rio 2016 gold and bronze Paralympic medallist Susie Rodgers MBE underlined how GSB helps athletes such as her with their sporting journey. “I have since learned that I am GSB's most decorated Paralympian,” she said. “This was a culmination of many years of training and support from GSB throughout. I am and have been proud to be a GSB ambassador, and now look to support, build opportunities and inspire the next generation of athletes in Greenwich to achieve sporting success.”
GSB works in partnership with SportsAid, and this year are providing £5,000 to talented athletes who have been nominated by their National Governing Body. Greenwich SportsAid athlete Sabrina Sinha said: “My SportsAid funding, which GSB kindly support, enables me to pay for 1:1 strength and conditioning sessions which are an invaluable part of my training. It also helps towards physio/sports massage and travelling expenses. The GSB have supported me since day one of my athletics career, and I really appreciate their support, not just financial. Their belief in my abilities as an athlete is as valuable as the money that I am awarded. Thank you.”
Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Denise Hyland said: “We are delighted to support the next generation of sporting heroes. The Greenwich Starting Blocks funding will enable them to follow in the footsteps of other incredible athletes from our borough who have gone on to achieve great success.”
Peter Bundey, GSB Chair, paid tribute to the athletes and the impact the charity is making. “Congratulations to all of the athletes receiving awards,” he said. “We know first-hand the commitment, effort and sacrifices they are making to perform at their best.
“Since launching in 2008 the charity has provided over 500 athlete awards at a total support value of £300,000, and with this award year we are committed to ensure the next generation of Greenwich athletes can be supported to achieve future successes.”
Attending Athletes –
Back Row (L-R) – Tosin Oke (Athletics: triple jump), JJ Webb (Fencing), Kola Adedoyin (Athletics: triple jump), Harry Peck (Fencing), Callum Sullivan (Rowing), Siobhan Samuel (Rowing).
Front Row (L-R) – Matthew Robertson (Para Cycling), Acelya Toprak (Judo), Akielah Ashman-Howe (Gymnastics), Emily Watts (Swimming), Katy Jebson (Taekwondo), Abbie Newton (Taekwondo), Vera Chinedu (Athletics: sprints).