August 8th - The support, interest and enthusiasm of Team 2012’s Followers present at this weekend’s Diamond League in Crystal Palace is making a difference, according to the athletes.
“The more funding we receive the greater our support infrastructure becomes,” said Rhys Williams, the 2010 European 400m hurdle silver medallist. “Gaining additional access to the top coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists and doctors allows us to focus solely on our performance and go into London 2012 as best prepared as possible.”
Paralympic 100m silver medallist Ben Rushgrove felt it was the ideal time to highlight how the Followers involvement is benefitting Team 2012’s athletes. He said, “It’s great for the Followers to meet us; they can see their efforts are paying off. Getting an insight into an athlete’s life allows them to indentify the importance of funding.”
It’s not just the financial backing that leaves a lasting impression on the athletes though.
“Sometimes you can get bogged down in your own little training bubble,” remarks a gleaming Emma Johnson, thanks to a personal best in Friday’s 800m, “but meeting people who are so supportive and keen to express their passion and appetite for the British athletes aiming to compete at London 2012 reminds you exactly why it’s all worth it – we want to make these people proud.”
For many of the Followers it was their first time at an elite level athletics event. With seats situated in close proximity to the finish line and within touching distance of one of Britain’s modern day superstars, triple jumper Phillips Idowu, it was an introduction of the highest order. Following the conclusion of the 4x100m men’s relay the Followers got their chance to quiz six Team 2012 hopefuls over dinner, an experience that won’t be forgotten.
Deloitte’s Lauren Prowen couldn’t believe her luck when she won tickets through an internal staff competition.
She said, “You never think you are going to be the lucky one when you enter but I’m so pleased I was. The day was fantastic; the athletics was brilliant and getting to speak with the London hopefuls was so inspiring. They were all so humble about their achievements; I’ll definitely be looking out for them next year.”
Anthony Chenery, Big Yellow Storage, agreed it was an opportunity that doesn’t come round too often. He said, “Team 2012 organised a fantastic experience at Crystal Palace with not just a day of exciting athletics but also a rare and wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with some of the athletes themselves.”
The next stop on the Team 2012 Followers tour is Lords Cricket Ground on October 17th. In 12 month’s time the home of English cricket will play host to the Olympic archery competition. Team 2012 Followers will be given the chance to try the venue out for size with four members of the recurve team, plus a talk from the sport’s psychologist Katherine Bond.