As celebrations continue to mark athlete successes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Teams, the GLL Sport Foundation - brought to you by Better - has been proudly counting the impact of their athlete support programme.
The GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) is the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme and had an impressive group of ninety nine athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games. It was also a resounding justification for years of commitment given to supporting talented local athletes with 17 medals won at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and 26 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (43 medals). This included a total of 14 Gold medals across the Olympics and Paralympics.
The GSF is the brain-child of GLL, the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering sport, health and leisure facilities across 250 venues in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Better brand. In partnership with SportsAid, the Foundation works directly with the established national ‘talent pathways’ of Sport National Governing Bodies. It also works directly with over 40 local authorities and local sports charities who partner the scheme across the UK.
In 2021 the Foundation are supporting over 3,000 athletes of which an incredible 97% receive no other funding or support. It is easy therefore to see why the programme has been an essential lifeline to the athletes and why they are keen to work with the Foundation to inspire other young people in local communities.
Since its inception in 2007, the GLL Sport Foundation has provided 18,000 athlete awards to 10,000 individual athletes.
Supported ambassador and Paralympics GB athlete Tully Kearney (S5 100m freestyle Gold medallist) said: “Having withdrawn from Rio 2016 Paralympics just a few weeks before due to a progression in my condition (Generalised Dystonia) I had to learn to swim again with my increased level of impairment and had to be reclassified.
“This was an extremely difficult time for me and I lost all my support from British Swimming, but GLL Sport Foundation continued to believe in me and support me, for which I am so grateful.”
Another GSF supported ambassador and Team GB Olympic Gold medallist Charlotte Worthington is equally glowing about the support she has received through the scheme: “I want to inspire people to get into BMX freestyle or sport in general, especially girls. The GSF award helped me financially but also to keep in the right head space knowing I have support.”
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair stated: "We are delighted that these athletes delivered such fantastic medal-winning performances in Tokyo. Their performances will directly inspire so many other young people across our local communities to follow their dreams and develop their talents, whether they be sporting or non-sporting abilities.
“Years ago, when we set up the Foundation with Patron Sally Gunnell, there were very few schemes that were able to have significant regional impact on talent development and proactively inspire local communities. Now, there are signs that others are starting to follow our blueprint and work alongside national talent pathways. That is good for national sport, the athletes and getting more young people into sport and physical exercise”.
The GLL Sport Foundation is committed to continue its support of athletes and local communities as part of their long term plan. In the short term plans will now focus on supporting the next generation of Olympians and Paralympians on their journeys towards the Paris Olympics and Paralympics in 2024.
For full details on supported athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and to access details on the 2022 athlete application period www.gllsportfoundation.org
Tokyo medallists supported by the GLL Sport Foundation:
Gold – Tom Daley & Matty Lee Men’s 10m Synchronized Diving
Gold – Charlotte Worthington BMX Freestyle
Gold - Tom Dean 200m freestyle swimming
Gold – Tom Dean & Calum Jarvis 4 x 200mfreestyle swimming relay
Gold - Alex Yee Mixed triathlon relay
Gold - Anna Hopkin Mixed medley swimming relay
Gold - Joe Choong Modern Pentathlon
Silver – Alex Yee Men’s Triathlon
Silver - Harry Leask Men's quadruple sculls rowing
Silver - Luke Greenbank Backstroke swimming
Bronze – Luke Greenbank 4 x 100m medley swimming relay
Bronze - Tom Daley Men’s 10m Diving
Bronze - Aidan Walsh Boxing welterweight
Bonze - Oliver Wynne-Griffith Rowing Eight
Bronze - Amelie Morgan Gymnastic team all-around
Bronze - Sarah Jones, Leah Wilkinson & Izzy Petter Hockey
Bronze - Asha Philip, Daryll Neita, Dina Asher Smith & Imani-Lara Lansiquot 4 x 100m relay
Gold – Tully Kearney Women’s S5 100m freestyle
Gold – Dan Pembroke Men’s F13 Javelin
Gold - Chris Skelley Men’s -100kg Judo
Gold – Hannah Russell Women’s S12 100m backstroke
Gold – Jessica-Jane Applegate Mixed S14 4x100m freestyle relay
Gold - Jim Roberts Wheelchair Rugby
Gold – Aled Davies Men’s F63 Shotput
Silver – Tully Kearney Women’s S5 200m freestyle
Silver – Louise Fiddes Women’s SB14 100m breaststroke
Silver – Grace Harvey Women’s SB5 100m Breaststroke
Silver – Dimitri Coutya Team Wheelchair fencing foil
Silver – Jordanne While & Lucy Shuker Women’s Wheelchair Tennis
Silver – Ali Smith 4 x 100m Universal relay
Bronze – Hannah Russell Women’s S12 100m freestyle
Bronze x3 - Dimitri Coutya Wheelchair fencing: Individual epee, Team epee & individual foil
Bronzex2 – Jessica-Jane Applegate Women’s S14 100m backstroke & S14 200m freestyle
Bronze – Louise Fiddes Women’s SM14 200m medley
Bronze – Aaron Mckibbin Men’s Class 8 team table tennis
Bronze – Claire Cashmore Women’s PTS5 Triathlon
Bronze – Louise Sugden Women’s 86kg Powerlifting
Bronze - Columba Blango Men’s T20 400m
Bronze – Jordanne Whiley Women’s Wheelchair Tennis
Bronze - Ben Fox, Gaz Choudhry, Jim Palmer Men’s Wheelchair Basketball
GLL Sport Foundation Partners
The GLL Sport Foundation works in partnership with SportsAid, SportsAid Wales, Mary Peters Trust to co-ordinate talent identification and national governing body funding recommendations.
The GLL Sport Foundation also works in partnership with the following local athlete support programmes: Belfast Sports Awards, Hackney Youth Sport Fund, Halo Sport Foundation, Greenwich Starting Blocks, Lambeth Gifted and Talented Programme, Manchester Sport Foundation, Rugby’s Excellence in Sport Awards, Cornwall Talented Athlete Scheme and West Oxfordshire Sports Awards.