Independent athlete support scheme celebrates its success with 14 Olympic and Paralympic medals
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Independent athlete support scheme celebrates its success with 14 Olympic and Paralympic medals

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The GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), set up to support the next generation of emerging talent, is celebrating the success of London 2012 where a massive 14 medals – six Olympic and eight Paralympic – were won by its sponsored athletes.

One of the largest independent schemes of its type in the UK, the GSF was launched in 2008 by legacy operator and charitable social enterprise, GLL, to ensure support mechanisms and legacy programmes are in place for local communities as well as to directly fund rising sporting stars to achieve their dreams. A massive 90% of GSF award recipients receive no other centralised funding.

This year, the scheme saw a total of 53 athletes selected for Team GB and Paralympics GB – many of whom train in GLL operated venues across London and the South East. Olympic Gold medals were brought home by Anthony Joshua, the super heavyweight champion boxer and Nicola Adams, the first gold medallist in women's boxing (Alumni athlete supported via Camden Sports Academy) . Gemma Gibbons - judo (Supported athlete via Greenwich Starting Blocks) and Zac Purchase (rowing) won silver medals. A host of bronze medals were won by Constantine Louloudis – rowing (Supported athlete via Westminster Champions of the Future Programme); Lutalo Muhammad (Taekwondo); Aaron McKibbin, Jane Campbell and Ross Wilson (paralympic table tennis); Alexandra Rickman (paralympic sailing) Ben Quilter (paralympic judo) and finally, Susie Rodgers, who won three bronze medals in paralympic swimming (Supported athlete via Westminster Champions of the Future Programme).

Former Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 400mh Champion Sally Gunnell; Patron of the GLL Sport Foundation stated "It is fantastic news to have so many GSF athletes selected. It is vital that our athletes receive the support required to achieve their sporting potential and these results prove the point. 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. It is also vitally important that there are support mechanisms and legacy programmes in place for the next generation of sporting stars and our local communities; we are working hard to achieve this."

Ben Quilter, under 60kg VI Judo bronze medalist, directly after his bronze medal success explained "It was a long journey to come back after my opening fight, I've had an amazing three years in the build-up to the Games and I'm not used to losing. Seven weeks ago I tore my ACL and ruptured the knee ligament and there was a huge question mark as to whether I'd be here today, so to have won bronze is fantastic. I am overjoyed at what is the biggest event of my life and to have the opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd. I hope that my performance and those by other Paralympians has inspired the next generation to be involved in sport. I'd like to thank the GLL Sport Foundation for all their support in the lead up to the Games."

Peter Bundey, GLL Sport Foundation Chair stated "We are delighted to be able to assist these highly talented athletes as they strive to achieve their ambition to compete for Great Britain at the Olympics."

"The Foundation is a significant part of GLL's legacy in the Olympic Park and to sport in the UK, we look forward to developing the sporting legacy for all our athletes and local communities."

The Foundation supports young athletes from more than 60 sports across Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic disciplines. More than 70% of award recipients are 20 years old and under and more than 40% are aged 16 years and under. Athletes can benefit from funding of up to £1,250 to be spent on training, travel and equipment over a 12 month period as well as free access to more than 100 GLL operated leisure centres.

Photograph: Ben Quilter, paralympic judo

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The GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), set up to support the next generation of emerging talent, is celebrating the success of London 2012 where a massive 14 medals – six Olympic and eight Paralympic – were won by its sponsored athletes.
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