Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre welcomes home Olympic stars

Published: 9 Nov 2016

Bisham Abbey National Sport Centre, managed by Serco on behalf of Sport England, today 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 Marlow.

In total, ten Olympic sports and 65 Olympic medallists are involved at Bisham Abbey including the Olympic gold medal winning women’s hockey team, men’s hockey team, rowing, canoeing, shooting and the Paralympic wheelchair tennis, canoeing, rowing and equestrian.

Rio athletes who attended the celebration, and unveiling of Rio medal ‘Wall of Fame’, included: Alex Danson, Giselle Ansley, Jodie Leigh, and Ellie Watton from the gold-medal winning women’s hockey squad; Liam Heath who won gold and silver in sprint canoeing; Pete Reed a three-times Olympic rowing gold medallist, most recently in the men’s eight in Rio; Pete Lambert who was a finalist in the men’s quadruple sculling; Anne Dickins and Jeannette Chippington who both won gold in the Paralympic canoeing; and, James Fox who won gold in the Paralympic rowing.

Also attending or speaking at the event were: Councillor Sayonara Luxton, Mayor of Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead; Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England; Sir David Tanner British Rowing’s Performance Director; and, Jean Watson English Institute of Sport Operations Manager at Bisham Abbey.

Bisham Abbey goes to great lengths to support GB’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, for example, in preparation for Rio, the main hockey pitch at the centre was changed to the same blue hockey pitch that was used at the Olympics, so that the hockey teams were immediately playing on a very familiar surface. The women’s hockey team have said that they were not nervous when it came to the penalty shoot-out in the final, as they just thought about being back at Bisham Abbey. The Centre is now looking forward to do the same in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.

Alex Danson, member of the Olympic gold medal winning women’s hockey team, said: “Bisham Abbey truly is a world class facility. The partnership between UK Sport, Sport England, English Institute of Sport and Serco has seen the facilities improve, improve and improve.”

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Charles Johnston, Director of Property at Sport England, said: “We are delighted to welcome our athletes home.  Thanks to National Lottery funding their journey to Rio started in Bisham Abbey’s word-class facilities. Working in synergy with Serco, UK Sport, and the EIS, ensured that our teams had the best possible chances of going for gold. I would also like to pay tribute to the wider Bisham community for their continued support. Bisham is a facility which is the envy of the sporting world, and together we have much to be proud of.

“Having access to quality facilities can make a vital difference to a person’s experience of being active, whether that’s high-tech equipment for elite players or a decent well-lit pitch for people playing sport casually. That’s why we continue to invest millions of pounds in sporting facilities across the country, so that everyone regardless of their age, gender or ability,  can enjoy a first rate experience of being active.”

Jean Watson, EIS Operations Manager at Bisham, said: “The world class facilities at Bisham allow our expert practitioners to provide sport science and medical services to elite athletes across a wide range of sports. Thanks to our close working partnership with UK Sport, Sport England, Serco, the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association, we will continue to provide these services that will ensure our athletes can compete and win against the very best in the world and make our nation proud.”

Steve Nelson, Serco’s Director for Bisham Abbey said: “Serco is truly honoured to have the responsibility of managing the National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey 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.



Pictured in the photo, from left to right, are:

James Fox, Anne Dickins, Pete Lambert, Sir David Tanner, Jean Watson, Councillor Sayonara Luxton, Charles Johnston, Giselle Ansley, Joie Leigh, Ellie Watton, Alex Danson, Liam Heath, Pete Reed, Jeanette Chippington (Wheelchair athlete)


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