GLL supported swimmer selected for GB Paralympic squad in Beijing
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GLL supported swimmer selected for GB Paralympic squad in Beijing

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Dervis Konuralp, a Paralympic swimming athlete, has been formally selected to join the Paralympic Swimming Squad for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – the only London-based swimmer to be selected.

Breaking two British records in both paralympic trials - the 100m and 50m butterfly – helped Dervis, 27, to qualify for the British team.

Dervis lives and trains in Hackney Swimming Pools and competes for Greenwich Borough Mariners Swimming Club.

With a funding and training grant from the GLL Sport Foundation, Dervis trains at the London Fields Lido in Hackney and the Clissold Leisure Centre in Stoke Newington. As a GLL Sport Foundation elite athlete, Dervis acts as an ambassador for GLL by visiting schools, youth clubs and presenting prizes at events across London to inspire young people and budding swimmers.

“I've achieved one of my key ambitions and it's another step towards competing in London in 2012 – my ultimate goal,” says Dervis, who clocks up 50km a week swimming at GLL-managed leisure centres in London.

“Thanks to the GLL Sport Foundation and their partnership with London Boroughs I have free access to top facilities on my doorstep – the only 50m open-air pool in London, as well as an all-weather pool at Stoke Newington. Both play a key role in my training strategy.

“I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for sport – it has given me confidence and drive - enabling me to realise my dreams. As a GLL ambassador, I'm determined to show others in my community the positive benefits of sport and keeping fit.”

Dervis, who is visually impaired, is a three time Paralympic swimmer winning a total of 35 medals from international competitions, including three World Championships and four European Championships. At the age of nine, Dervis was diagnosed with Macular Dystrophy Stargardt's – this means he has no central vision, but perfect peripheral vision.

The GLL Sport Foundation was launched earlier this year to help talented young athletes like Dervis achieve their sporting potential in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

The GLL Sport Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, funded by Leisure Trust GLL and sponsoring partners. In its first year the foundation is investing over £300,000 which will provide funding grants to individuals, free memberships to GLL-operated sporting and leisure facilities and funding awards to youth sport coaches.

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Dervis Konuralp, a Paralympic swimming athlete, has been formally selected to join the Paralympic Swimming Squad for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – the only London-based swimmer to be selected.
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