A total of 45 Team GB athletes competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games received financial and training support from the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF). The Foundation is the brain-child of GLL, the Country’s largest operator of public sports facilities.
The first 24 of the GSF athletes to compete were part of the Olympic Team that produced a stunning performance and surpassed the Olympic medal tally from London 2012 with 67 medals. The GSF supported Olympic athletes produced an impressive 7 medals, also beating the amount gained by GSF athletes in London (6). This included a silver medal in Taekwondo from Walthamstow’s Lutalo Muhammad.
Lutalo, a big talk of the Games, came so close to being crowned Olympic champion after his bronze at London 2012, but it wasn’t to be when a kick came out of nowhere in the last second to snatch the gold away. GSF has supported Lutalo since 2009, when he was a junior fighter, he then achieved phenomenal feats in the junior European ranks then progressed onto the British taekwondo centralised programme. “When I first started to compete internationally the GLL Sport Foundation was my only source of funding and I can sincerely say ”but for” GSF I would not of transitioned from a skinny kid that loved sport to an Olympic medallist. I’ll never forget the help I received”.
Lutalo was in the limelight in 2012 too, when he was controversially selected over number one ranked Aaron Cook. He proved the selectors right and went on to win a bronze medal. And although disappointed to only get a silver in Rio, he is positive about moving forward to Tokyo 2020, “I am very happy and proud to be here. I am a second-time Olympian, second time Olympic medallist so we all know what’s next. I will take some time off, rest up, heal up and getting my thinking right. Then I am sure I will be back feeling hungry again”.
Former Olympic, World, European and Commonweath Champion Sally Gunnell; Patron of the GSF has remained committed to supporting young athletes since struggling herself to find funding support during her early years of competition “As Patron I have been able to proudly champion the need for positive recognition and tangible support directly to young sporting talent. I know from personal experience that many young athletes struggle to meet the costs associated with increased training and competition to reach their sporting dreams”.
The GSF is the largest independent athlete support programmes in the UK and in 2016 has supported over 2000 athletes with financial and range of training support. To date over £6.1million has been put into athlete support across Olympic, Paralympic, Special Olympic and Deaflympic sports. In partnership with SportsAid, the Foundation works directly with the established “talent pathways” of Sport National Governing Bodies.
A massive 90% of award recipients receive no other centralised funding, with 73% of award recipients being 21 years old and under, and 35% aged 16 years and under.
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair stated “We are so delighted that these athletes delivered such fantastic medal-winning performances in Rio. Their performances captivated our Nation and will inspire so many other young athletes to strive to follow in their footsteps”.
With these successes and to inspire the next generation GLL are hosting Open Days at Better Leisure Centres all over the country in conjunction with ITV and I Am Team GB offering free tasters in a number of different activities on Saturday 27th August.
For details on the Open Days please view – http://www.better.org.uk/newsitems/better-host-free-family-sports-and-activities-open-day-as-part-of-the-nation-s-biggest-sports-day-i-am-team-gb-2016-08-23-14-49-00-0100
The medal winners roll of honour show an impressive 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals:
- Gold – Constantine Louloudis (Rowing men’s 4)
- Gold – Scott Durant (Rowing men’s 8)
- Silver – Lutalo Muhammad (Taekwondo -80kg)
- Silver – Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Rowing women’s 8)
- Bronze – Dina Asher-Smith (Athletics 4x100m relay)
- Bronze – Daryll Neita (Athletics 4x100m relay)
- Bronze – Tom Daley (Diving synchronised 10m platform)
For full details on supported athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games please view – www.gllsportfoundation.org
Image: Lutalo Muhammad – photo competing in Rio 2016 final
Image: Lutalo Muhammad – photo from 2009 GSF has supported Lutalo across 2 Olympic cycles