Rising stars get a sporting chance

Colin Jackson supporting Sporting Champions

Up-and-coming athletes in Blaby District are being given the chance to become 'Sporting Champions' and gain much-needed support as part of a sports talent development scheme.

Everyone Active's Sporting Champions programme, now heading into its seventh year, has helped thousands of athletes to achieve their sporting potential by providing free access to Everyone Active's 200 plus leisure facilities across the country, including in Blaby District and across Leicestershire.

Both Enderby Leisure and Golf Centre and Huncote Leisure Centre, run by Everyone Active in partnership with Blaby District Council, are part of the initiative along with centres in North West Leicestershire, Melton Mowbray, Oadby and Wigston and Market Harborough.

Aspiring athletes will be able to apply between February 13 and March 13 by visiting the Everyone Active Sporting Champions website.

The scheme's impressive line-up of decorated Olympians and Paralympians includes Lutalo Muhammad, Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Richard Kilty, Lauren Steadman, Kadeena Cox and Maisie Summers-Newton. These stars will continue to provide their expertise, mentoring and support to athletes accepted on the scheme this year.

Sporting Champions will also receive free unlimited access to the Everyone on Demand app. This provides them with more than 500,000 at-home workouts from leading fitness brands, including WithU, Flex and Les Mills on Demand.

Councillor Nigel Grundy, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, said: "We are delighted this amazing initiative is back again, offering our rising sports stars the opportunity to hone their talents and improve their sporting skills.

"We are proud of our leisure centres and the services they provide as well as our partnership with Everyone Active. We hope as many of our up-and-coming sports stars as possible embrace the scheme."

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson will remain in his role as Sporting Champions Ambassador, working alongside the scheme's Elite athletes to make sport more accessible within local communities.

Alongside some of Team GB's top talent, he will play an integral part in providing both one-to-one and group mentoring sessions throughout the year.

Colin said: "I'm proud to be involved in a scheme that is so dedicated to supporting athletic talent from grass roots up.

"I have watched the Sporting Champions scheme grow over the years and I'm so excited to continue working alongside a panel of truly talented Elite athletes to help mentor and support the next generation.

"The Sporting Champions scheme has helped thousands of up-and-coming athletes to achieve their sporting dreams and I can’t wait to see what this year's intake go on to achieve."

Over the past seven years, Sporting Champions has invested more than £1million into athletes on the scheme.

James Naylor, Everyone Active's contract manager, said: "We are delighted to be able to support rising sports stars from Blaby District and across Leicestershire on their journey to success.

"As a leisure provider working in partnership with local councils, we feel it is important to cater for all sections of the community.

"The Sporting Champions scheme has already supported a huge number of athletes and I'm proud that we are continuing this again in 2023.

"We hope to continue making a real difference to our athletes' success and are excited to see what this year will bring."

Applicants should visit Sporting Champions to fill out the online application form, which will be available from Monday 13 February to Monday 13 March.

Councillor Nigel Grundy

Councillor Nigel Grundy
Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Assets

13 February 2023