Sunday, 20 December 2015

Jordanne Whiley - SPOTY

On Sunday evening, US Open Champion Jordanne Whiley will grace the stage at the BBC's annual Sports Personality of the Year Award, when she presents the "Unsung Hero" award, alongside Eddie Izzard.

Should Jordanne however have been nominated for the SPOTY shortlist? David Fearnhead makes the case for inclusion,in his article which first appeared in The Huffington Post.

There is a glaring omission from the BBC Sports Personality shortlist this year. A tennis champion has been overlooked. Though we are told that being a champion is not a sole condition of a nomination.
Lucy Bronze is on the list. The first female footballer ever to be there. I've interviewed Lucy and she's as impressive and articulate sportswomen as you're likely to meet. Following her nomination she posted the following on her official Facebook page:
Not going to lie I was very much bewildered and humbled by my nomination for this years SPOTY awards! I haven't won a gold medal, I don't have a trophy and I'm not number 1 or even the captain of my team. So I actually looked up the meaning of the award, and it made a bit more sense;... "whose actions have most captured the public's imagination."
There is no doubt that England's Lionesses captured the public's imagination, even if Bronze herself is a little bewildered as to why she should be singled out from what was a team effort. The same is true for cyclist Chris Froome. The Tour de France is a team effort, sure one man gets to wear the yellow jersey but that is down to the sacrificial effort of his teammates who ensure he remains on top.
For a time cycling seemed to have a strange monopoly on the trophy, and there are two in this years contest along with a rugby league player, a swimmer, a gymnast and yes a boxer. Tyson Fury has received more coverage for his views on homosexuality than he has for becoming World Champion. Controversy is now more rewarding of column inches than sporting achievement. Fellow nominee Greg Rutherford even thought to scrub his own name from the list in disgust.
Rutherford has been dubbed the forgotten man of athletics, his gold in London was eclipsed in the media by those of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah on what was dubbed Super Saturday. Yet even athletics in the Olympic year of 2012 could not secure the SPOTY title which again went to a cyclist.
Then there is Lewis Hamilton, who had the best car and was better in qualifying than his German teammate therefore assuring him the title. Indeed for the entire F1 season only one race, Hungary, was won by a driver not qualifying on the front row of the grid (positions 1 and 2). And even then it was won by the driver who'd qualified third.
The racing has gone out of F1, which is now little more than a high-speed procession interspersed by a few pitstops. It's hardly inspiring stuff. You can't blame Hamilton, he can only race in the era he was born in, but until F1 becomes more competitive we'll never see what Hamilton is truly capable of. Nevertheless, Hamilton's fans are internet savvy and will probably ensure a second title in succession for their man.
In Andy Murray we have the opposite. British tennis is not a world force by any stretch of the imagination and yet Murray lifted the entire nation to become Davis Cup champions. They say no one man wins a team event, but Murray surely tested that theory to the limit. He put country before Grand Slam single success and the result was Britain became World Champions. Murray deserves the crown, but he is not the tennis champion that has been overlooked.
That would be Jordanne Whiley.
A year on from a Grand Slam doubles clean sweep, the wheelchair tennis player became singles US Open Champion. The very title that saw Andy Murray voted sports personality of the year in 2013, yet this year it's not deemed good enough to even warrant her name on the shortlist.
I know I'm not first to say it, and certainly I'm amongst the many to think it, but the fact that Whiley was not even shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year makes a mockery of a competition which is meant to celebrate British Sportsmen and Women who inspire.
I don't agree with nominating someone just to show representation for disability sports, I believe every nomination should be there on merit. And on merit, Whiley deserves to be shortlisted at the very least.
This article first appeared in the Huffington Post on 16 December, the original piece can be found here;

You can follow David Fearnhead on Twitter:        

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Richard Browne talks to Interview Maagazine

Richard recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Emma Brown of New York's Interview Magazine. The result is a superb interview which gives giving a real in depth look at the life of an elite athlete, competing with a disability.
We have replicated the interview in full. The original article can be found on the Interview magazine website, here;

As American sprinter Richard Browne Jr. gets ready to race, the first thing you notice is his build—unlike distance runners who are small and wiry, Browne is 6'3" and nothing but muscle. The 24-year-old Jackson, Mississippi native looks like the running back of an NFL team. Once the whistle blows, however, and Browne starts to run, the only thing you can think of is his speed. Take, for example, the 100-meter final at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in October: Browne thrashed his competition, winning by more than you would think is possible in just 100 meters. Currently, he holds three T44 world records: the 200-meter sprint (21.27 seconds), the 100-meter sprint (10.61 seconds), and the 60-meter sprint (6.99 seconds). "The only sprint record I don't have is the 400-meter," the athlete explains. "I want that one too, to be honest."

If you're wondering why you haven't heard of Browne or seen him on Billboards in Times Square, the answer is depressingly simple: Browne is a para-athlete; he had one of his legs amputated in 2010, following an accident in 2007, two weeks in a coma, two months in the ICU, and 14 surgeries, and runs with a blade. "I did everything possible to save my leg," he recalls. "[But] in 2010, I was a freshman in college and not able to live my life the way any 19-year-old would, so I decided to get it cut off. It was the best decision of my life."

Browne wasn't a runner before he lost his leg (he had played football, but was never passionate about it). The second eldest of 10 children, Browne planned to be a math teacher and studied physics at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Two years after his amputation, however, he took home a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Although the United States did show Browne's win retrospectively, they did not televise the majority of the games (NBC showed five and a half hours of taped highlights, which, when compared to coverage broadcast by Channel 4 in the U.K., seems pretty feeble).* The upcoming 2016 games in Rio will be the first time the U.S. has shown the Summer Paralympics live on television since Athens in 2004 and is slated to receive over 60 hours of coverage.

"Most people [in the U.S.] don't know we exist—it's worse than being ignored," says Browne. "I remember coming back from the 2012 Games. The whole team, we flew back together, and people were like, 'Are y'all some kind of special team?' The Paralympic Games is the biggest sporting even in the world, we just represented our country, and when we get back to that country, no one knows what happens."

At the moment, Browne is based in Cambridge, England, where he is working with a new coach experienced in training para-athletes Hayley Ginn. Needless to say, he is a favorite for Rio.

EMMA BROWN: Did you like growing up with so many siblings?

RICHARD BROWNE JR.: It was awesome being in such a big family. We're super competitive amongst the boys. All of us play a different sport, whether it's football, basketball, or track. It keeps you on your toes because you have your younger brothers that want to be better than you and then you want to be better than your big brother. It keeps us going. At Thanksgiving and Christmas we always play football and basketball. That's the tradition amongst the boys. The girls, they're usually girls—except my sister Cheyenne, she runs track for Ole Miss, and she's usually with the boys. My other two sisters are super girly-girly.

BROWN: When did you start running?

BROWNE JR.: 2010. I lost my leg in February of that year and six months later I was in Edmonton, Oklahoma for my first track meet ever.

BROWN: That's so quick!

BROWNE JR.: It was a quick turnaround. I got my walking, every day prosthetic and I was playing basketball again and playing football. My prosthesis said, "You know they make running legs. You should try it out. They have track meets." I Googled it and came up with Oscar Pistorius and Jerome Singleton and April Holmes and Marlon Shirley. I've been running ever since then. I didn't know anything about U.S. Paralympics, or any Paralympics, actually, before losing my legs. It fell into my lap. It was a gift.

BROWN: When did you first consider becoming a professional runner?

BROWNE JR.: Honestly, it was my first coach ever. I went to Disney and ran at a meet there. I think I went 11.40 [seconds in the 100 meters], which was a fast time back then but today is not very fast. He was there and he was like, "I've been wanting to coach a Paralympic athlete and you're here now, so I feel like this is us crossing paths for a reason." I'm a true believer in everything happening for a reason, so when he said that, I packed my bags and went back to Orlando to train for the 2012 Paralympic trials in Indiana. I trained hard for about two months with him, and then I ended up making the team, going to London, and winning a silver medal. You can say I turned pro after the games in 2012. It was a really quick turnaround. I went to Crystal Palace in London, England, that was my first-ever international meet, my first time out of the country in my life. The guy who beat me was actually Jonnie Peacock, the Paralympic champion, and I came in second to him again the following year.

BROWN: I was reading some of your past interviews, and a few of them talked about your rivalry with Jonnie Peacock.

BROWNE JR.: Yeah, I really don't like Jonnie. Me and him have been in the sport together since 2011, so it's hard to say I don't like him as a person because we've really broken down doors—before us, besides Oscar, there really weren't any fast runners. Jonnie Peacock was the first to ever really push the barriers—he went 10.85, and that was the first time we really thought a single leg amputee could run that fast. When I came along, I began to run 10.7s and that kind of fired everything up between us. I was the world recorder holder; he was the Paralympic and world champion at the time because he beat me in 2013 by .01 [seconds]. I think that race in 2013 is what really started the rivalry. It was such a close race. It was really intense World Championships because we were the favorites going in. As far as now, I love beating him. I'm not going to lie. When he's on the track, I do push a bit harder. There's definitely still a rivalry there.

BROWN: But it's just on the track?

BROWNE JR.: I wouldn't go out for a beer with the guy, but it's mostly track. We're very, very different people. He's more the true British guy and I'm the American loud-mouthed jock. Our contrasting styles make it a rivalry; it's the American vs. the Brits. It's just a lot of different layers to the situation. But it's awesome for the sport. Since the rivalry started the world record has dropped two-tenths of a second, and it's only been over the last year and a half. It's been pretty quick in advancing the entire sport, and now you have the younger guys—Felix Streng from Germany, Arnu from South Africa—who are wanting to run fast.

BROWN: Looking at videos of you racing the 100-meters in Doha, you won by so much it's hard to imagine anyone being a threat. Is there anyone you're looking out for in Rio?

BROWNE JR.: Not in the 100 meters. You have Jarryd Wallace, my fellow American, and he ran 10.71 in the Pan-American games this year in Toronto, but honestly I feel like I'm a head above the rest at the moment. Even with my performance in Doha, I was only working with my new coach in Cambridge for about three weeks and we changed so much and got so much faster. I went from 10.72 to 10.61 over three weeks, and it was a few technical changes here and there in form—we didn't really train hard. Now that we have better form, we can train hard and get faster. I really haven't had any consistent training because I keep having kids. [laughs] I have three beautiful kids and they push me very hard.

BROWN: How old are they?

BROWNE JR.: Three, one and a half, and then my new son are only about two months. I have two boys and a little girl. I won't have a family as big as my family, but at this rate...but it's been amazing. The only thing I don't like is I made the sacrifice to move to Cambridge for my career, London being the epicenter for para sport. It's been a good move for me, but it's been hard to be away from my kids.

BROWN: Is your three-year-old old enough to understand what you do?

BROWNE JR.: He is a track fanatic. He does, "Set, go!" He loves to get into blocks with me. He was at nationals with me. He came to worlds with me. He loves track and field. I remember calling him right before the 100-meter final [in Doha], because he went home, and he goes, "Go Da-da, go!" Now my daughter's starting to say, "Set, go!" Hopefully I'll have a couple of runners in the 2036 Olympics.

BROWN: Do you think the Paralympics should exist separately from the Olympics? Or should there be Paralympic events in the Olympics?

BROWNE JR.: The only reason I would say keep it separate is because we are separate. No matter how hard I try, I can never be as good as a Bolt.

BROWN: You're pretty close.

BROWNE JR.: I'm close. I want to get even closer. But despite how good we are, our disability will always limit us. We can get very, very close to that limit, but it's still going to be there. It's one of those situations where I do think we should remain separate and let us be our own entity. I just think the people who are in charge can do better things to get us to the world. The American public really don't know what para sport is. They think we're part of the Special Olympics—and nothing against the Special Olympics, but being mentally and physically disabled is different. America as a whole needs to wake up, not only to disabled sport, but disability in general. We're bigger than our disabilities. Everyone out there has a story, but we're bigger than our story.

BROWN: Did people treat you differently in your day-to-day life after you lost your leg?

BROWNE JR.: Definitely. I think the biggest thing to get used to was being stared at because you have one leg or you have a disability or you're in a wheelchair or you're blind. Any Paralympian you talk to, no matter what their disability is, I think that's the biggest part—just being different from the general public. Then after you get past that, it's, "Oh wow, you're an athlete on top of that?" You don't want people to be like, "Oh, that's so great, we're just happy that you're here," because you're good at what you do. It's a catch-22; you don't want to just be looked at because you are disabled but you are disabled so you have to be looked at. It's really hard to deal with mentally—you really, really want to be looked at as a normal athlete, but you're not a normal athlete, so how do you go about it?

BROWN: But you look like an athlete. You like an Olympian.

BROWNE JR.: The rigorous training that we go through is the same that a [Usain] Bolt will go through, Justin Gatlin, Allyson Felix. I literally trained with Gatlin for a year. Everything he did, I did. He had the best season of his career; I had the best season of my career. We do everything an able-body does, it's just we have one leg or are in a wheelchair or whatever the case might be.

BROWN: How did you meet your new trainer Hayley Glinn?

BROWNE JR.: I've actually known Hayley since 2012, we met through Jonnie Peacock—she was around the games and we built a relationship over the last three or four years. She's pretty much the most knowledgeable person in the planet when it comes to running mechanics with a blade, and I'm at the point now where I'm pushing conventional knowledge—no one thought an amputee could run faster than 10.5, and now it's, "Oh, when is Richard going to run 10.3, 10.2." And she's the coach that's going to get me there because I have to worry about different equipment. Unlike an abled-body, I have my prosthetic leg to worry about and I have to change the angles on it to be able to do certain things. Just those extra idiosyncrasies that an able-body doesn't have to worry about and a normal coach wouldn't know, she knows everything about. We made a couple of changes here and there and I dropped a tenth of a second so it's been working pretty well.

BROWN: Do you customize your running leg?

BROWNE JR.: Everything is pretty much custom on my running leg, [or] any prosthetic. A lot of amputees don't know that they can be as finicky and as particular as they want to be about their prosthetic. I'm one of those people who is very particular. You could put a penny in my leg and I would feel the difference. You get very, very close with your leg.  My leg even has a name, we call it Earl. My leg is my livelihood, my best friend, my training partner. My leg is the most important piece of equipment I have, without it I can't run. We do very, very strenuous testing and working with my leg—the angles and how it fits and all those different things.

BROWN: What made you finally decide to move to Cambridge?

BROWNE JR.: I hit a wall. I got to 10.7 and I couldn't go any faster, which is fast enough to beat everyone I'm racing against, but I like to push—I want to go faster. I'm going to go 10.2 in Rio and 20.1/20.2 in the 200. Alan [Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira] from Brazil says he's going to go 19 seconds. In the 100, I don't have any competition. In the 200, it's going to be a battle between me and the Brazilian and he's the hometown favorite. I love going to Rio; I've been Rio about four or five times over the course of my career and it's absolutely beautiful down there and the people are super supportive of Paralympics, but him being the hometown favorite...I remember running against Jonnie [Peacock] in 2012, and when they called his name the crowd erupted, the ground shook under my feet, and I can remember saying, "Wow. I really hope America gets the Olympics before I retire, because to run in front of your home crowd, that has to be amazing."

BROWN: In one of your interviews, you said you preferred the 200-meters.

BROWNE JR.: Oh, definitely. The 200 is my baby. I love the fact that I can actually race. The 100 is pretty much get out and go; it's over before you can even think. In the 200, you have time to prepare. It's still an all-out sprint, but it's a tactical race.

BROWN: Is it hard not to get complacent when you win a race by so much?

BROWNE JR.: At first, it was. But I remember Gatlin pulled me to the side one day in practice and was like, "When you're the best at what you do, you have to race yourself. Every day you wake up and look in the mirror, and that's your competitor. You're still not the best in the world, because you're looking at somebody every day that you can be better than." My mom, as well. If I brought home a B, I got in trouble. My first grade that wasn't an A was my freshman year of college. I remember quitting track when I first started running, and she was like, "We don't quit things. That's not something that you do in anything you do." I know what goals I want to accomplish: I want to break the 10-second barrier. I want to break the 20-second barrier. When I see 9.9 come across the clock, I'll stop. But until then I'm going to keep training hard and I'm going to push those conventional theories that "amputees can only run..." If it's not me, I do think an amputee could break 20 seconds or 10 seconds.

BROWN: Why were you considering quitting running?

BROWNE JR.: It was really hard, just getting up every day and putting your body through that voluntarily. Track isn't like other sports; other sports natural talent takes over at some point. Sprinters are born—you can't make someone into a sprinter. I was born with all the right muscles and nice levers, but now I have to train those things and my body has to be very coordinated and all those things that you can't just do by going out on the track. You have to train your body for that. I think that's the hardest part. Everything had come easy to me for the first 19 years of my life. Now that I was actually having to work hard at something, I didn't know how to feel.

BROWN: Did football come easily to you?

BROWNE JR.: Yes. I played football my entire life. I didn't have to go to practice. I could just go to the field and be better than everybody out there. I never wanted to be a professional player. I didn't think that was in the cards for me. I probably had the ability, I started on the varsity team as a freshman, so I was always good at it, but I didn't want to work hard. When I lost my leg and track was placed in my lap, it was the universe showing me, "You need to work hard at something." I don't think there is such a thing as having a life plan; you pretty much have a purpose in life, and I think this is my purpose—not to be great on the track, but to be someone who touches people's lives. I've taught kids how to walk, run. I've shown people that there's life after disability. I've walked into a hospital and people are crying because they just lost their leg, and it's like, "Look at me, you can walk around."

I think my biggest goal in life, even with that photo shoot we just did, is to show that you can still love yourself, you can still be an awesome person and whatever you want to be despite your physical disability. Especially when it comes to physical appearance, because I know a lot women, their biggest hang-up is that you're changing physically how you look. As soon as you look at me, if I have on shorts, you can tell that I'm disabled and you're going to judge me by what you see before I say anything, before you know who I am. It's the same for every physically disabled person—anyone sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a prosthetic, blind. Before you see us, you have a pre-conceived notion of "Aww" or sympathy; it's just how humans are. Especially with kids, because kids are mean. And I have three. To grow up being a kid and being different, I've talked to kids who try to hide their prosthetic with things like long socks, but I let kids know that you don't have to. People say I'm flashy and I'm a showoff on the track—it's not that, I'm just really showing appreciation for being alive and the opportunity that I've been given: to travel the world running track, to do something I love and get paid for, to touch people's lives every day. It's one of the best feelings in the world. A little girl told me once, "I want to cut my leg off just like you." She wore braces because she didn't want to get her leg cut off, but when she saw me, she was like, "I'm going to get it cut off now." When you can show people it's okay, that's the best thing.

BROWN: Did anyone do that for you?

BROWNE JR.: Actually, no. I've always taken things in stride. I grew up, not hard, [but] my mom worked three jobs to take care of us. We didn't have everything we wanted but we had everything we needed, so I've always learned you do the best with what you have. I had that instilled in me as a young child from my mom and my grandmother and I'm thankful for that. I've always been a kind of in-your-face guy, but I began to tone that down for some odd reason, I don't know what it was, and people really noticed it. People want a show, people want to have somebody to look to and have that thought of, "It's okay, I can be as strong as I want to be." Some people need that person, a role model. I don't like being called a role model, I don't like being called an inspiration, but those are the things I am now because of what I do. It's really just kids. I've talked to women about their legs, and I've talked to some guys. Most guys are more concerned about things they can do: "I want to be able to go back to work, and am I going to be able to walk?" You can do anything you want to do with a prosthetic; it's just those mental things.

BROWN: Are you close with your mother?

BROWNE JR.: Not very close. The only reason I'm not close is because of my accident. She still feels like it's her fault. She was there when I initially had my accident. The thing is, she did so much for me. She took care of me when I was fighting for my life—literally—every day. She lost her house because I was in the hospital for about three months straight. I lost so much blood that no doctor wanted to touch me. They were like, "He's going to die." So my mom had to beg doctors to operate on me, because everybody thought I was a hopeless case. So for her to go through that, she's amazing. But she's so scared. She saw me fall on the track—she's super supportive of my career, she has all my medals and my pictures and my posters, but she's just like, "Richard, I want you to come home so I can take care of you for the rest of your life." Like any mother would. I have kids and as soon as they fall I just want to take them and hold them. But being a parent, you have to let your kids go at some point.



* This article previously incorrectly stated that the U.S. did not televise the 2012 London Paralympics and has not televised the Paralympics since Athens in 2004. They in fact showed 5.5 hours of taped coverage for London and televised the Sochi Winter games in 2014. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Golden World Championships for Team 17

The 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar have been a golden occasion for Team17, with three gold medals for Hannah Cockroft, two individual golds and a relay silver for Richard Browne and some great performances from Ben Rowlings.
Hannah was first in action on the opening day of the Championships, winning gold in a T34 championship record of 17.73 over 100m. This was Hannah's third World title over 100m, having been successful in Christchurch 2011 and Lyon 2013. Next up for Hannah was the 800m, a new event in the World Championships programme but this did not deter Hannah, who won in another new championship record of 2:07.10. Hannah then picked up her third gold medal and third championship record in the 400m on the closing day of the event.

It has been a very successful World Championships for Hannah with a clean sweep of gold medals. A great achievement seeing as Hannah had never competed in a World 400m or 800m race before and it is a just reward for all of the work that she has put in this year. We look forward to more on track success for Hannah in 2016.

Hannah Cockroft
Richard started his Championships on the fourth day, cruising through his 200m T44 Semi Final. In the following days Final, Richard was in blistering form, destroying the field to win gold in a new World Record time of 21.27. Richard followed up his 200m gold with a dominant performance in the 100m Final, taking the title in 10.61 to set another new World Record. Richard closed out his championships by anchoring the US 4 x 100m relay team to a silver medal.

Whilst Richard has had an awesome World Championships, winning gold medals and breaking world records, the future is incredibly exciting as there is so much more to come from this very talented athlete. Watch out for some very special things from "Winged Foot" in 2016, it's going to be beyond incredible.

Richard Browne
It was a great Championships for 19 year old Ben Rowlings, who was taking part in his first competition on the World stage. Ben managed to successfully qualify for three out of four of his T34, World finals missing out on just the 100m. Ben agonisingly finished in fourth place in both the 400 and 800m, whilst coming seventh in the 200m. 
All in all, whilst Ben did not medal, he has still had a fantastic championships, particularly when you remember that this was his first ever event at world level, there are definitely exciting times ahead for big Ben.
Ben Rowlings
"We're very proud of the performance of all of our athletes who competed in Doha" said Ian Byers, Director of 17 Sports Management. "Whilst Hannah and Richard were probably pre-race favourites for their events, they still had to deal with the added pressures that being favourite brings. Seeing them deliver under those circumstances and breaking records too was fantastic. Ben did incredibly well, particularly as this was his first World Championships, he will be far better for the experience of competing at this level" he added. "The knowledge that our athletes have gained in Doha can only be of great benefit when they compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio next year".
"We really appreciate the support and assistance provided by Hannah, Richard and Ben's sponsors, this valuable support enables them to perform consistently at the highest level. With the Paralympic Games taking place next year, the competition will move up another level and if anybody would like to get on board and support these fantastic athletes, I would be pleased to hear from them" said Ian.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012
Follow Richard on Twitter @winged_foot
Follow Ben on Twitter @BenRowlings
Contact, Ian Byers;
Photos courtesy of IPC Athletics / Getty Images.
#Gold #Medal #GoldMedal #WorldRecord #Athletics #Doha2015 #Paralympics #Rio2016 #Team17 #BeyondIncredible #IPC

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Richard Browne becomes a Pink Ribbon Foundation Ambassador

Having lost his grandmother to breast cancer in 2012, US Paralympic T44 track athlete Richard Browne has become an Ambassador for the Pink Ribbon Foundation.

"Coming from a large family of nine siblings, my grandmother was very instrumental in my upbringing. I am therefore keen to use my profile to help increase awareness and educate people about the disease and to honour my grandmother" said Richard. "Now that I am based in the UK, I am proud to support the work of the Pink Ribbon Foundation".

Richard with Jonathan Prince of the Pink Ribbon Foundation
Each year 55,000 women and around 350 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly the disease claims the lives of around 12,000 women each year. One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime but the good news is that, more people are surviving the disease than ever before.

Richard added; "it is important that women keep fit and healthy, I want to encourage them to have a healthy diet, to exercise, to play sport and to adopt a healthy lifestyle which will help them to reduce the risk of breast cancer in the future".

Richard with the famous Playboy bunny girls
Welcoming Richard as an Ambassador of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, at an event held at the world famous Playboy Club in London, charity trustee Jonathan Prince said; "we are delighted to welcome Richard, an elite high profile athlete, to help us increase awareness of breast cancer, the need for people to live healthy and active lifestyles, and the work of the Pink Ribbon Foundation. We appreciate him giving up his time and look forward to cheering him on in the upcoming World Championships. I would also like to thank our friends at the Playboy Club for their continued support of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, for creating a special Pink Ribbon cocktail and for making us so welcome today".
Richard mixes a Pink Ribbon cocktail at the Playboy Club
The Pink Ribbon Foundation is a grant making trust with a mission to fund projects and provide financial support to charities which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, or who have been affected by breast cancer or who work to advance the understanding of breast cancer, its early detection and treatment.

The Foundation is impartial and is committed to bringing together individuals, charities and organisations to fight this terrible disease together. Every year the Foundation invites charities concerned with breast cancer to apply for grants from the money raised. Operating in this way allows the Foundation to help charities both large and small. Any charity concerned with Breast Cancer is entitled to apply for a grant.

Richard Browne will compete in the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22 and 31 October 2015. He will contest the individual T44 100m, 200m (an event in which he is the current World Record holder) and the 4 x 100m relay, as a member of Team USA.

More information on the Pink Ribbon Foundation can be obtained from;
Jonathan Prince,, 01689 858877

Richard Browne is represented by 17 Sports Management Limited;
Contact; Ian Byers,, 01920 831147

Follow on Twitter; @pinkribbonfound  @winged_foot

#BreastCancerAwareness #PinkRibbon #Athletics #Playboy

Friday, 16 October 2015

Hannah Cockroft targets three gold medals at the World Championships

Wheelchair speedster Hannah Cockroft MBE flew to Doha this week looking for glory at her third consecutive World Championships, which take place between 22 and 31 October.

It's quite fitting that the athlete studying journalism will have plenty to write about when her racing days are done.

Even as it stands, the 23-year-old is a double Paralympic gold medallist and quadruple world champion – quite a feat for the Halifax-born lass who grew up in the hamlet of Mount Tabor – fit with its gold post box to commemorate one of her London 2012 medals.

Yet Cockroft continually stresses her desire to remember her roots with the city of Leeds majorly important in the Paralympian’s success story which, in truth, has only just begun. Never mind Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020, at just 23 years of age even the 2024 Paralympics could be on the long-term agenda.

Hannah has become the female face of wheelchair racing after a sensational five years that has seen her bag eight golds at Paralympics, Worlds or Europeans. But the former Calderdale College pupil can well remember her humble roots joining Leeds City Athletics Club as a teenager to be coached by Paul Moseley.

These days, Team GB are responsible for the athlete’s coaching which this year has been geared around this month’s World Championships where Cockroft will bid for three golds in the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 class.

A single gold would act as automatic qualification for Rio and Cockroft heads to Doha as a reigning champion having savoured victory in both the 100m and 200m at the last two World Championships in Christchurch and Lyon, though she now faces a new challenge with organisers shelving the 200m event for the 800m contest. With the Yorkshire ace also tackling the new 400m, three gold medals could be on their way back to Mount Tabor.

Rest assured Cockroft will be showcasing any future glories in Leeds, a city the Paralympian says has been integral to her transformation to sporting stardom.

Taking time out of her busy schedule before jetting out to Doha, Cockroft told the Yorkshire Evening Post; “I’m a member of Leeds City Athletic club and I’ve been there at least seven years and Leeds has been really important to me.

“I had my coach here when I started, I still come and train with the group here when I’m around and it’s nice to come back and have someone who remembers who you were before all the glory and still kind of treats you as that person. They are real friends there, they are real people and if ever for some God forsaken reason everything went wrong they would still be here and I’d fall back on them and they’d still catch me and help me. It’s nice just to have that little safety net there.

“Next year will be my second Paralympic Games and it just seems weird that London was three years ago already. It feels like it was yesterday and yet it feels like it was forever ago".

“It’s such an odd thing to think about because so much has happened since then and you don’t want to hang on past glories. But it was just such a momentous occasion that I’ll always live off it and you can see the change in it by just how many competitors are coming through. It’s just amazing.

“After London I came back to Leeds City Athletic Club where I trained before London to show them my gold medal and when we trained here there were maybe four or five us who trained together. “But I came back and there were old people, young people, people my age, everyone, about 20 people trying out wheelchair racing and I think that is just a pure show of legacy. That is what it is all about – showing people that you might have a disability but actually you can do whatever you want.

“It’s great and I do see that still every day, there’s so many youngsters that have come through since London that are now world champions, world record holders. It’s amazing and it just shows that actually all these people were sat at home thinking they couldn’t do things when actually they had just raw talent inside of them.”

Cockroft was that person when watching the Beijing 2012 Games. Four years later, she was one of London’s heros and it would take a brave man to predict anything but another gold rush at Rio this time next year.

Yet Cockroft actually faces a new challenge in adapting to new distances, a new dimension that the 23-year-old is relishing. Cockroft explained: “We’ve got two new events this year because they have replaced the 200m with an 800m and they added an extra 400m earlier this year. So it’s a great opportunity to have to go to these championships – it’s exciting and it kind of gives me a chance to show that I can do more than put my head down and race in a straight line and I can think about what I’m doing while I’m doing it.

“It is a challenge and it’s going to be tough because the rest of the world is catching up very quickly. But that’s nice, it’s nice to kind of go out there and show people that there is competition now and it is going to be exciting to watch.

“I’m doing the 100m, the 400m and the 800m – instead of the 200m – so I guess I’m going for a hat-trick! Fingers crossed that’s the plan. “But it seems scary, I think I am racing six days out of the 10 days’ competition so I know it’s going to be really tough and something totally new to handle. “But I like a challenge!”

The Doha heat adds another aspect to the size of the task – temperatures are set to reach 37 degrees centigrade tomorrow – and Cockroft admitted: “It’s not going to be who is the fittest and healthiest and fastest, it’s going to be who is handling the heat best. I went out in February as that’s where we had our first race of the season and it was just something else. You really can’t recreate that, it’s horrible!”

Perhaps, then, Cockroft will be happy to learn that four months of snow are forecast on her return to Yorkshire where the athlete will remain based between now and Rio while she takes a gap year in her degree in journalism at Coventry University. First stop after Doha will be mum and dad Rachel and Graham’s house in Mount Tabor but the Cockrofts are an international family with brothers Joshua and Daniel living in Finland and Pennsylvania respectively and long term the air miles will continue to soar. Cockroft laughed: “I’ve recently moved back home to Halifax and it’s nice to be home. It’s nice to be back where my mum can cook my dinner and dad can wash my car!”

Cockroft, though, will remain in the fast lane, admitting even after a glut of medals there is still so much more to achieve.

Assessing how long she might continue, Cockroft reasoned: “For me it’s a tough thing to call because my disability doesn’t have a diagnosis so we don’t know how things are going to impact on it, how it’s going to get worse or get better. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. My plan is to make it to Tokyo 2020. I’d love to see how I feel then and it depends where hosts the 2024 Games. If it’s a country I’d like to visit then maybe we can hold on a bit longer.

“Obviously the Olympics is the pinnacle of every athlete’s career but I haven’t had the chance to race at a Commonwealth Games so I’d love a chance to do that. “There’s still everything to aim for and everything to race for. And I’m having fun with it so let’s carry it on.”
Courtesy of The Yorkshire Evening Post.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012
#Rio2016 #Doha2015 #London2012 #Gold #Champion #Athletics

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Tom Bosworth talks to the BBC

Race walker Tom Bosworth competed for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships, is set to feature at the Rio Olympics and is the first athlete on the team to come out as gay.

Coming out is no surprise to my friends, family and even team-mates, even Mo Farah who didn't bat an eyelid when I told him I was gay. I got to know him and others on the Great Britain endurance team prior to the World Athletics Championships in August after we spent a few weeks on a pre-training camp in Japan.

It was a great chance to talk about it in a relaxed environment and everyone was very supportive of me being the first openly gay athlete on the GB team.

But there were some interesting questions when I told them about my circumstances. My team-mates asked whether I had a partner and how old I was when I came out. They were intrigued by my sexuality and asked me whether I got any stick for being openly homosexual. 

The truth is that I used to. When I was competing in local athletics a number of years ago, some other athletes called me 'fag' or 'queer'. 

And when I was at school, when those feelings were still developing, I had my head smashed through a window by a group of boys. Thankfully, that's all in the past now. 

Whilst my current team-mates were interested to talk about my sexuality, they soon realised there was nothing to be concerned about and all was perfectly normal. It was great that everyone could be themselves as the pressure built in camp before a major championships. 

It shows you that if someone of Mo's stature can be supportive then there should be no issues from others. I wish that all athletes from my past had been as positive as Mo.

About four or five years ago, some former athletes in local athletics would verbally abuse me. It was pretty nasty, and made worse by the fact they found it funny. Thankfully, they were in the minority.

In the end, I just ignored them. I realised they had no positive part to play in my life and fortunately I had enough people around me who I could rely on for support.

Sometimes, you have to be a bit thick-skinned about it all and I learned that lesson, sometimes literally, in school.

When I was 15 or 16, I thought I was gay and somehow word got around in school, leading to a really difficult period in my life. Teenagers can be really nasty and half the time they don't even realise what they're saying. It's just ignorance, I guess.

A group of lads used to gang up on me and the worst episode came when they smashed my head through a window after a run-in. I decided not to tell anyone about it, so my parents or teachers didn't know. I guess I was more worried about people blaming me than the students but I had the support of my friends to get me through that tough time. 

It was a decade ago, so I'd like to think that things have moved on a lot since then, even in schools, and that kids are more tolerant these days. 

That experience taught me to ignore lone voices. I know there will always be people who have a problem with my sexuality, but one person's opinion doesn't affect me now, as I have support from my parents and partner.

I'm not even sure I can change the opinions of those boys. All I want to do is give a positive message that you can succeed in sport whatever your background. Be it gay, straight, black, white, religious or non-religious - there are no barriers.
Courtesy of the BBC.
Follow Tom on Twitter  @TomBosworth

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Jordanne Whiley receives her MBE from The Princess Royal

Wheelchair tennis star Jordanne Whiley has today received her MBE from Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
"It was an amazing experience to share the day with my family" said Jordanne, "It is a great honour to receive my MBE from the Princess Royal, it's a memory that I will cherish forever".
Jordanne admitted that when she first received the letter informing her of her nomination; "It's amazing, I didn't expect it at all, I Just couldn't believe it, I thought it was a mistake". "I read the letter five or six times before it started to sink in".
It's been quite a year for Jordanne, retaining her doubles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with her partner Yui Kamiji and going to Number One in the World Doubles rankings. Then followed the biggest success of her career to date, in September, when she won the US Open Singles title in New York.
Jordanne still has two more major tournaments this year, the world Masters Doubles in Los Angeles and the NEC Singles Masters in London.
Who knows what 2016 will hold?
You can follow Jordanne on Twitter; @jordannejoyce92 and visit her website
#MBE #BuckinghamPalace #Tennis #GrandSlam #AustralianOpen #Wimbledon #USOpen


Monday, 5 October 2015

"Winged Foot" signs with 17 Sports Management

United States Paralympic track star Richard Browne Jr, has signed to be represented by 17 Sports Management Limited.

"We are delighted to welcome Richard to #Team17 and are excited to be working with him" said 17 Sports Management Director Ian Byers. "Richard has a very special talent and we will work closely with him and his coaching team to manage his career, maintaining the correct balance at all times between his training, competition, commercial and media activities." "Richard transcends disability sport, he is the complete package; talented, hard working, with character and personality. He can run fast, very fast and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be one of the greatest athletes of all time" he added.

T44, below the knee amputee sprinter Richard, known throughout the athletic world as "Winged Foot", took up running in 2011, after his leg was amputated in 2010 as a result of an accident back in 2007. He won a silver medal over 100m at the London 2012 Paralympics, a feat he repeated at the 2013 World Championships. The current world record holder over 60 and 200m, the 100m record is "just out on loan" says Richard, who recently saw compatriot Jarryd Wallace break the record.

Richard's pursuit to be the very best has seen him recently leave his young family behind in the United States and base himself in the UK ahead of Rio and the 2017 World Championships in London. "Disappointingly para athletics in the States is still very small, although the USOC and NBC are working hard to change that. In the UK and Europe, the profile of the sport is much higher and the coaches have more experience in working with amputee athletes" said Richard. "It was a terrible wrench to leave my family behind in the States and live abroad, but it is a sacrifice that I am prepared to make to be able to achieve my dreams".

Next up on track for Richard is the IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22 and 31 October, where he will compete for three World titles, over 100m, 200m and in the US team in the 4 x 100m relay. Following which his attention will be focused on the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Before Rio however, Richard hopes to compete in more Diamond League meetings and in races against able bodied competitors, saying "Oscar Pistorious was really the first athlete to cross over into able bodied races and he got a lot of recognition for that but unfortunately his personal situation has since overshadowed everything". "I enjoy the challenge of testing myself against able bodied sprinters, I want to be regarded as a great athlete and certainly don't want to be treated as a curiosity".

Away from the track, Richard has set up his own foundation; Never Stop Inc. The aim of the foundation being to help specifically newly disabled people to get back to being active. Richard also campaigns to promote Breast Cancer Awareness and he will be dying his hair pink in Doha to honour his grandmother who died from the disease.

Richard and his team at 17 Management have also been working on  a new personal website which is coming soon;

Despite Richard's success, high level of profile and colourful personality, other than Ossur who supply his prosthesis, he currently has no other sponsors. "I was very surprised to learn that Richard is currently only supported by Ossur" said Ian Byers. "It is obvious that Richard can offer significant exposure and add value to any potential commercial partners. I would urge any companies interested in working with him to get in touch". Ian can be contacted, by Email; or telephone +44 (0)1920 831147.

17 Sports Management, based in Hertford, UK, represent the interests of a number of disabled and able bodied sports people, from World Champions to up and coming new talent. More information on the company and the athletes represented can be found at
You can follow Richard on Twitter @winged_foot 

#WingedFoot #Athletics #United States #WorldChampionships #Doha2015 #Paralympics #Rio2016 #London2017 #NeverStop

Photographs courtesy of Peter Milsom

Monday, 14 September 2015

Jordanne Whiley - US Open Singles Champion

Jordanne Whiley made history on Sunday at the US Open after becoming the first British woman to win a wheelchair tennis Grand Slam singles title.

British No. 1 Jordanne, playing in her first women’s singles Grand Slam final, beat defending champion, her doubles partner, best friend and world No. 3 Yui Kamiji of Japan 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 in a match of fluctuating fortunes.

Jordanne saw an early break advantage disappear in the first set, only to regroup and take the last two games to seize the initiative. Kamiji raced through the second set, but Whiley returned from a comfort break before the final set with a renewed focus and stormed into a 5-0 lead.

Jordy then had her first five match points before Kamiji pulled a game back, but another thrilling final game eventually saw the Brit clinch a famous victory on her ninth championship point.

“It really hasn't sunk in that I've done it - I'm a singles Grand Slam champion! It was so strange playing Yui as she's my best friend and we've achieved so much in doubles together but it means I know her game so well,” said Jordanne, who will now go to a new career best singles world ranking on Monday after starting the US Open world ranked No.5.

“I felt bad seeing her crying at the end but that's tennis and I knew I could win it. I kept telling everyone that I could do it in singles as well and now I've finally proved it! Everything is clicking nicely ahead of Rio and now I can't wait to play at the Singles Masters in December and I want to win that too in front of a home crowd. 

“I'm going to treat myself to some pizza tonight but then it's back home and I'll keep working hard and build on this success” she added.
Jordanne had a great week in the singles in New York, beating home favourite Kaitlyn Verfuerth in straight sets and then world No. 2 Aniek Van Koot in a tough three set semi final, to set up the final with Kamiji.
Courtesy of Tennis Foundation.
Follow Jordanne on Twitter @JordanneJoyce92  and visit her website

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Jack Whelbourne makes a difference

For Jack and his team mates it's a weekend to make a difference as they take part in the Nottingham Post, Good Deed Notts campaign.
Jack outside the Mary's Kitchen Café
via The Nottingham Post

Paintbrushes and overalls will replace ice skates and skin suits as the GB Short Track team step off the rink to give their local café a helping hand.

The Nottingham-based team – who have been training at the National Ice Centre, in Bolero Square, since 2000 – will spend the next three days revamping Mary's Kitchen Café, in Southwell Road, which is a stone's throw from the arena.

They will paint the café's eating area, put up a new sign at the front and install new lighting before the venue reopens on Tuesday.

The fundraising drive will see organisations, businesses and individuals raise money for charity, volunteer in their communities and give their neighbours a helping hand.

Team member Jack Whelbourne, who grew up in Lenton but now lives in Hucknall with European champion speed skater Elise Christie, is the makeover's project manager.

The 24-year-old, who made the semi-finals in the short track events at the 2010 Winter Olympics, said: "I go in the café every other day for food between training. It's great to be able to interact with locals and businesses and show them we are supportive in the community."
Jack in action
Fellow team member Jon Eley, who was born in Solihull but has lived in Nottingham for 14 years, says the café is a "team favourite". The 31-year-old, who represented Britain at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, added: "We really like it there as it has a friendly atmosphere.

"Everybody in the team has come up with one good deed that they are going to lead, and the rest of us will help them out with it."

Mick Preedy, senior building manager of construction company Willmott Dixon, has provided the team with eight tins of paint, two electricians and the new sign. He said: "It's nice to put something back into the community."

The café's co-owner Denise Clarke said she was "honoured and excited" about the project and was looking forward to seeing the transformation.

The team aim to continue their community work by visiting ill children in the city's hospitals, encouraging people to keep fit by getting their skates on, putting their skills to the test and baking cakes and cleaning up community centres and parks.
You can follow Jack on Twitter @speedyboi158  and find out more about him through his website
#Cafe #Nottingham #Post #GoodDeed #ShortTrack #TeamGB

Friday, 28 August 2015

Hannah to race at School Games

World, European and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE returns to the Sainsbury's School Games in Manchester on Friday 4 September to compete as a guest, four years after striking gold at the event in 2011.

The double Paralympic champion from London 2012 will line up against Sainsbury's 2015 School Games competitors at the Manchester Regional Arena as part of her preparation to retain her world titles at the 2015 IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha next month.

Hannah competed at multiple School Games, kicking off her glittering sporting career at the 2007 School Games in Coventry where she competed in the seated discus. Here she was spotted by a GB talent scout and a talent day in Loughborough followed to begin the career of one of Great Britain's most exciting track stars.
Hannah wins gold at the 2011 School Games
Hannah landed gold in the 100m wheelchair race at the Sainsbury's 2011 School Games before going on to international success with double gold in the T34 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championship titles. This time she will line up non-competitively in the 100m and 800m mixed-sex wheelchair races and therefore be unable to pick up a medal.

Hannah said: "I am so excited to be lining up in Manchester to get some vital competition practice at the Sainsbury's 2015 School Games. This event literally kick started my career and I feel honoured to return again as a competitor".

"With just over a month to the IPC World Athletics Championships and a year until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Friday will form an important part of my preparations. Having won the 100m event in 2011, I am looking forward to taking on the young talent competing at this year's Sainsbury's School Games and I would like to thank the organisers for allowing me to take part."

The Sainsbury's 2015 School Games, which are supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, are a major multi-sport event for some of the most talented young athletes across the UK. This year 1,600 athletes will compete in 12 sports in venues across Manchester and will experience a spectacular opening and closing ceremony, an Athletes' Village, and a targeted education programme which includes anti-doping advice and guidance.

More than 15,000 spectators are expected at the event which is supported by more than 500 volunteers, many of which are young people who provide round the clock support to the athletes, coaches, officials and spectators.

You can watch Hannah's races live online here at the following times on Friday 4 September:

13:00 100m Wheelchair race
16:35 800m Wheelchair race

To show your support and be part of the action, order your Sainsbury's 2015 School Games tickets here:
You can follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012 and find out more about her through her website

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Heartache for Kelly Edwards in Astana

Kelly Edwards of Team GB lost in her Preliminary Round fight in the International Judo Federation World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan today.

In a very close fight against Odette Giuffrida of Italy, Kelly had a single Shido awarded against her during the bout for a minor rules infringement. This was to prove very costly, as despite dominating the fight, the bout ended scoreless after 4 minutes. The rules of judo state that if there is a tie, then and only then, will the number of shidos be used to determine the winner, on this basis Kelly was eliminated from the competition. 

"I'm gutted to have lost it how I did" said Kelly "I have been working very hard in training and I'm pleased to see the improvements", adding "I felt like my composure and scoring attacks were way better. I haven't watched my fight back yet, but I feel that it might well be my best performance at this level, so there are a lot of good things to take away".

As it happened, Odette Giuffrida progressed throughout the competition to end up fighting for the bronze. "I know I am able to compete at this level and know that I can be doing the same" Kelly added.

"I would like to thank my coaches, the whole team at British Judo and 17 Sports Management for their support. Also my sponsors Schneider Electric, Aga Rangemaster, SIMGear and the National Lottery. Without all of them, I would not be where I am now and with their continued support I know that I can challenge at the Rio Olympic Games next year"

Having missed out on the opportunity to gain ranking points, which are vital for qualification for the Olympics, it is important that Kelly continues to compete at the highest level, which will involve her entering more international competitions. "Despite the wonderful support of my sponsors, every competition that I enter costs me financially. I know that I have a lot to offer a potential sponsor and if there are any companies out there who would like to partner with me to help me with some funding, I'd love to hear from them" said Kelly. 

You can contact Kelly through her website
Follow Kelly on Twitter  @Kel_Edwards1
#Judo #World #Championship #Astana #Rio2016

Monday, 24 August 2015

World Championship debut for Tom Bosworth in Beijing

Tom Bosworth (25) competed in his first IAAF World Championship races in Beijing at the weekend.

Tom represented the British team in the 20km race walk, finishing in a time of 1:23:58, making him the 8th placed European to finish and giving him 24th place overall.

On completing the race Tom said; "it was pretty tough out there, it was all going to plan until around 13, 14 kilometres then the heat and humidity just hit me. I had prepared at altitude in the heat for this, my body felt great, but it's an endurance event and sometimes these things just hit you, I just felt rubbish".
Photo courtesy of Jon Mulkeen
"It has been a great experience, I don't think I could have come to a better place to debut in my first ever World Championships, I didn't feel out of place, I didn't feel overwhelmed, I felt very much at home at this level and I have learnt a lot".

"I now know that I can push on to higher places. I should have broken the British record today (which has stood at 1:22:03 since the 1988 Seoul Olympics) I was ahead of schedule but I just couldn't hold on". 

"I'm still progressing massively and I feel like I have yet another big step in me in the next 12 months or so, that's how my progression has been going. The future is really exciting. I'd love to be much closer to the front, maybe top twelve in Rio next and year and then it's the World Champs in London in 2017. I want to be right at the front then".

Tom, who trains with coach Andi Drake at the National Race Walking Centre at Leeds Beckett University, was one of a handful of athletes in the British team who receives no financial support. Having recently lost a major sponsor when Lloyds Bank withdrew from sponsoring their talented athlete programme, he would love to hear from any companies that would like to partner with him and be part of his exciting journey to the Rio Olympics and the London World Championships.
Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBosworth 
Visit his website
#Athletics #RaceWalk #World #Championships #Rio2016 #London2017


Friday, 21 August 2015

World Championship Silver for Rob Oliver

Paracanoe athlete Rob Oliver has moved a step closer to a place on the Team GB squad heading to Rio next year by winning a Silver medal in 39.739 seconds, at the International Canoe Federation World Championships in Milan. Rob’s silver medal has ensured Team GB will have a place in the Men’s’ KL3 200m Sprint event for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Single leg amputee Rob, from Hollywood, Birmingham, is the British No.1 in his 200m kayak sprint category and became European Champion in May.  

The World Championship Silver medal winner said “I came here with three goals; win a medal, finish in under 40 seconds and to get a Paralympic quota place for Team GB in the KL3 200m. All these goals were achieved and I am so happy!”

Paracanoe is a new sport being introduced to the Paralympics in Rio 2016 and the popularity is rapidly growing in the UK. A new boat is on the list of Rob’s requirements before Rio, however as he has to fund this himself, being a full time athlete who trains 6 days per week, Rob therefore has to rely on sponsorship and commercial opportunities to be able to fund his equipment and is hoping a new sponsor will come forward soon to enable him to continue towards his dream of representing the country in Rio and bringing home a gold medal for Team GB. 

If you would like to support Rob, you can contact him through his website

Follow Rob on Twitter @RobertOliverGB

#World #Silver #Paracanoe #Milan #TeamGB #Rio2016 #Paralympics

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Jack Whelbourne launches "Website of Awesomeness"

Double Winter Olympian and multiple British Champion short track speed skater Jack Whelbourne has launched a new personal website through his team at 17 Sports Management.

"158 comes from my first ever race number, it is a number that means so much to me" said Jack. I have christened my website "the website of awesomeness, the guys at 17 have done a fantastic job". "Having my own website will enable people to keep up with what I'm doing and will give me a great opportunity to showcase my sponsors and the exciting sport of short track, I'm very excited by it" he added.
Jack, from Nottingham, who trains at the city's Capital FM Arena, went on to say "I know that there are a lot of people, causes and organisations seeking sponsorship, it is though very important for me to continue to be able to compete with the best in the world. I have a good profile, particularly in Nottinghamshire, I know that I can help raise the profile of companies and I am passionate about ensuring that I give back to sponsors and ensuring that they receive good value for their investment in me. I hope that there are some companies out there who will be inspired by what so I have achieved so far and would like to be part of my exciting journey to the 2018 Winter Olympics, where I am aiming to win gold".

Ian Byers, Director of 17 Sports Management said "Sponsoring an elite athlete such as Jack can benefit a company in many ways, not least by increasing client and colleague engagement, giving people pride through the knowledge that they have a connection with her performances.

Supporting an athlete via sponsorship gives the opportunity for personal appearances to support and build interest in a brand along with increased media exposure via TV, radio, press and social media. Partnering with Jack would give a sponsor access to obtain exclusive imagery, video and blogs which can provide engaging content which will in turn drive traffic to the sponsors website. Additionally, a logo placement and link can be placed on Jack's website.
Sponsorship can help toward fulfilment of a corporate social responsibility, promoting inclusion and diversity, the development of sport and encouraging healthy active participation by all".
Huge thanks to Martin Holtom for all of the great photos on my website.
"I am really proud to represent Great Britain, I have been to two Winter Olympic and am excited by the prospect of challenging for Gold in 2018" said Jack, "I know that I have a lot to offer and I'm hoping that there are some companies out there who would be proud to partner with me".

If you or your company would be interested in partnering with Jack, you can contact him through his website or alternatively contact Ian Byers;
You can follow Jack and 17 Sports Management on Twitter @speedyboi158  @17_Management
#ShortTrack #WinterOlympics #Gold #TeamGB #Nottingham



Monday, 10 August 2015

Kelly Edwards selected for the World Judo Championships

We are delighted to announce that #Team17 judo player Kelly Edwards has been selected to represent GB at the upcoming World Judo Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Kelly will take part in the Women's Individual competition in the -52kg category. 

"I'm really looking forward to competing and representing my country at the World Championships" said Kelly "my performances have been improving this year, I can't wait to get stuck in and give it my all in Astana".

Kelly and the British Judo team heading to the World Championships

Report courtesy of British Judo;

British Judo have today (10th August 2015) announced a team of nine players for the World Judo Championships, held in Astana, Kazakhstan 24-29 August.

The British entry was officially released today through video streaming app Periscope, where the selected players took part in a live question and answer session with fans.

Heading to Kazakhstan to represent Great Britain at the final World Championships before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be Kelly Edwards (-52kg), Nekoda Davis (-57kg), Alice Schlesinger (-63kg), Sally Conway (-70kg), Natalie Powell (-78kg), London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons (-78kg), Ashley McKenzie (-60kg), Colin Oates (-66kg) and Ben Fletcher (-100kg).

Speaking ahead of the Championships, Gemma Gibbons said: “The World Championship is one of the highest levels you can perform at in judo, so I’m really excited to be going to Astana. I’ve never been a medallist at the World’s before so that’s my goal going in to the Championship.”

Accompanying the team will be Elite Performance Coaches, Kate Howey MBE and Jean-Paul Bell.

Kate Howey said: “The World Championships will be a big test for a lot of our players as we look towards Rio next year. Everyone has been training really hard and are looking forward to taking on the best players in the world”.

Follow @BritishJudo and @Kel_Edwards1 on Twitter

#Judo #WorldChampionships #Astana #Kazakhstan