Ealing Sports Stars Given Free Leisure Centre Access

Boxer, swimmer and triple jumper join Sporting Champions scheme

Swimmer Alex Down and boxer Damar Thomas have joined the scheme

May 2, 2024

Three young athletes from Ealing borough have been selected to join Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme .

The programme, now in its eighth year, has helped more than 5,000 athletes to achieve their sporting potential by providing free access to Everyone Active’s 230-plus leisure facilities, including Everyone Active Acton Centre, Brent Valley Golf Course and Fitness Centre, Dormers Wells Leisure Centre, Reynolds Sports Centre, Elthorne Sports Centre, Greenford Sports Centre, Northolt Leisure Centre, Perivale Park Athletics Track, Swift Road Outdoor Sports Centre and Twyford Sports Centre.

Among the athletes accepted on the scheme in Ealing this year is Damar Thomas, who is a full-time podium athlete training with Team GB Boxing. Damar is third in the UK in the amateur heavyweight rankings and won the 2023 Ealing Adult Sports Person of the Year award. Also joining is Alex Down, who is currently the Open Water Regional Champion. In 2023, she swam the English Channel as part of a relay for charity, raising nearly £7000 alone. Britain number one ranked triple jumper, Jude Bright-Davies, will benefit as well. He is an England Outdoor Champion and British Outdoor Silver Medallist.

Alongside free access to Everyone Active centres, Sporting Champions receive mentoring and guidance from a panel of Elite athletes, some of whom look set to compete at Paris 2024.

The scheme’s line-up of Olympians and Paralympians includes Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, Lutalo Muhammad, Richard Kilty, Lauren Steadman and Maisie Summers-Newton, while new to the panel for 2024 is GB sprint star Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.

These Elite athletes will share their experience and expertise through group mentoring sessions, covering topics including mental wellbeing, nutrition, managing finances, social media and media training.

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson will also continue to support the scheme through his role as an Ambassador, working alongside the Elite athletes to make sport more accessible within local communities.

Colin said, "I'm passionate about nurturing young talent and the Sporting Champions scheme goes above and beyond in this mission. With the Olympics and Paralympics taking place in Paris this summer, the programme takes on even greater significance in 2024. Seeing these future champions flourish fuels my excitement for what's to come."

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, no fewer than 30 Sporting Champions competed, taking home five gold, two silver and three bronze medals.

Phil Edwards, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said, “Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme has been very successful in providing exceptional support to emerging talent and we are delighted to be once again supporting athletes from Ealing on their journey to success.

“It’s fantastic to see how the scheme has expanded over the years, now providing more than 1,000 athletes nationwide with access to top-quality training facilities and support.

“As a leisure provider working in partnership with Ealing Council, we feel it is important to cater for all sections of the community. We hope to continue making a real difference to our athletes’ success and are excited to see what the relaunch of the scheme will bring this year.”

Councillor Polly Knewstub, cabinet member for thriving communities, said, “I am delighted that out sporting partner, Everyone Active, has brought back its Sporting Champions scheme for the eighth year running. This is a great programme that is giving valuable support to some of our most promising young athletes, providing mentoring and access to equipment and facilities.”

To find out more about the Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions scheme, visit www.easportingchampions.com.

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