Lilleshall National Sports & Conferencing Centre, managed by Serco on behalf of Sport England, yesterday hosted an event to welcome home and celebrate the Rio Olympic and Paralympic medal winners and athletes who train and are based at the National Sports Centre in Lilleshall.
In total, four Olympic and Paralympic sports and 11 Olympic medallists (who won a total of 13 medals at Rio 2016) are involved at Lilleshall including the history making British Gymnastics and Paralympic Archers.
Rio athletes who attended the celebration, and unveiling of Rio medal ‘Wall of Fame’, included: Gymnasts Kristian Thomas, Silver medallist Bryony Page, Bronze medallist and Team GB’s youngest member, Amy Tinkler; Para-Archers John Walker (double gold medal winner), Jodie Grinham (Silver medal winner), Dave Phillips, Mikey Hall and John Cavanagh; and, Olympic Archer Patrick Huston.
Standing (Left to right): Dave Phillips, Jodie Grinham, Patrick Huston, Bryony Page, Amy Tinkler, Kristian Thomas, Lynne Fowler, Charles Johnston
Front Row (Left to right): Jon Cavanagh, John Walker, Mikey Hall
Also attending or speaking at the event were: Lynne Fowler, Mayor of Newport; Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England; and, David Tillotson, Performance Director of Archery GB. Year 6 children from Lilleshall Primary School also attended the event and enjoyed meeting the athletes.
Lilleshall goes to great lengths to support GB’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, for example, the centre has invested to make the site more accessible and the environment more amenable to para-athletes. The centre also installed a podium to replicate the environment that the trampolinists would be competing in at Rio. The Centre is now looking forward to do the same in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
Bryony Page, Trampoline Silver Medalist said:
“It’s great that the profiles of gymnastics, trampolining and archery have all been raised following the success at Rio which could not have been achieved without all of the support that we receive at Lilleshall from UK Sport, Sport England, all of the staff that work here, Serco, EIS, British Gymnastics and Archery GB. We couldn’t have done it without this.”
Charles Johnston, Director of Property at Sport England, said:
“We are delighted to welcome our athletes home and to congratulate them on their phenomenal results in Rio. Working in partnership with UK Sport, the National Governing Bodies, Serco, and thanks to National Lottery funding it ensured that our teams had the best possible chance of success. I would also like to pay tribute to the wider Lilleshall community for their continued support. Lilleshall is a facility which is the envy of the sporting world, and together we have much to be proud of.
“We will continue to invest in the site both for athletes in their journey to Tokyo 2020 and also for the local community, who don’t realise that they have such world class facilities on their doorstep which they can access.”
Lynne Fowler, Mayor of Newport, said:
“Newport Town Council will be seeking to forge closer ties with Lilleshall, the elite athletes who train here and the available facilities to the public, as we know we have a hidden gem on our doorstep. Working in partnership, we hope to encourage many more community users to access the wonderful facilities at Lilleshall whilst at the same time increasing numbers to our town.”
David Tillotson, Performance Director of Archery GB, said:
“There has been a tremendous achievement of the athletes from this site; 13 medals, two double gold winning medallists, two of Team GB’s youngest medallists and a historic podium 1-2-3. Developments across the site have been enormous, providing world-class training facilities, but also in the office and leisure facilities and it is fantastic to hear that investment will continue in the Centre.”
Steve Nelson, Serco’s Director for Lilleshall said:
“Serco is truly honoured to have the responsibility of managing the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall and providing the important services that support so many Olympic, Paralympic and other athletes. We look forward to working with the athletes, Sport England, UK Sport and the EIS to continue to improve the facilities and services provided, to support all our athletes toward further and future success.’