Former world record holder Colin Jackson looks to find Sunderland's Olympians and Paralympians of tomorrow

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The city is looking to unearth the Olympians and Paralympians of tomorrow thanks to an inspirational mentoring scheme from Olympic and Paralympic athletes including 110m hurdles silver medallist and former world record holder, Colin Jackson.

With 2024 being an Olympic and Paralympic year, Sunderland Everyone Active's Sporting Champions aims to "empower aspiring athletes to unlock their full potential by offering access to state-of-the-art training facilities and mentoring support".

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Olympian Colin Jackson at one of the mentoring sessions. Olympian Colin Jackson at one of the mentoring sessions.
Olympian Colin Jackson at one of the mentoring sessions. | Everyone Active

The scheme provides free access for participants to sports facilities across the city at venues including Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Raich Carter Sports Centre, Houghton Sports and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Sports Complex and Ski Slope, Hetton Community Pool and Wellness Centre and Washington Leisure Centre.

During training sessions the budding athletes will benefit from visits and mentoring sessions from Colin and other Olympians and Paralympians including Lauren Steadman, Lutalo Muhammad, Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, Kadeena Cox, Richard Kilty and Maisie Summers-Newton.

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."

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Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We are delighted to support up and coming athletes from Sunderland on their journey to success. “As a leisure provider working in partnership with Sunderland City Council, we feel it is important to cater for all sections of the community. “The Sporting Champions scheme has supported thousands of athletes over the years and we are proud to be continuing this again in 2024. “We hope to continue making a real difference to our athletes’ success and are excited to see what this Olympic year will bring.”

Over the past eight years, the Sporting Champions scheme has poured more than £2million into young athletes and since its inception in 2016, the scheme has transformed the lives of more than 5,000 athletes nationally.

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

Youngsters can apply for places on the scheme via the Everyone Active Sporting Champions website.

Applications open on Monday, February 12, 2024 and run until Monday, March 11, 2024.

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