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Paralympic Hero Richard Whitehead Inspires the Next Generation of Athletes

20th June 2013

The National Lottery celebrated its investment in sport by surprising budding young athletes in Nottingham with a visit from Paralympic star Richard Whitehead MBE.

The National Lottery-funded Gold medallist dropped in on Harvey Hadden Stadium where more than 100 youngsters were taking part in the Year 9 Athletics Championships. The event was part of the Sainsbury’s School Games, which has benefited from more than £35.5 million of National Lottery funding through Sport England to provide fully inclusive, competitive opportunities for young people to take part in sport.

Double leg amputee Whitehead, who won gold in the T42 200 metres in his first Paralympics last summer and is also a world record holder marathon runner, met the youngsters and shared his own sporting story with them. He said: “I have really enjoyed the day, it is great to see so many young people who have been inspired by London 2012 and are so enthusiastic about athletics.

“The National Lottery has supported me throughout my career and is also funding grassroots sports events like this which give young people the chance to develop their sporting potential.

“Inspiring the next generation and investing in our future stars from an early age is really important. National Lottery players should feel proud that they are making such a difference to sport in this country.”
Sport in Nottingham received a boost earlier in the year when the Sport Nottinghamshire, local organising committee of the School Games in the area received an additional £45,000 of National Lottery funding.

Nick Robb, School Games Organiser for Nottingham City, said: “We’re delighted that Richard could join us , he’s a real hero in the city and an inspirational figure for teenagers. The School Games give young people the opportunity to take part in sport at a competitive level and fulfil their potential. National Lottery funding helps make these events possible and is creating a real lasting legacy from London 2012.”
Mike Diaper, Director of Community Sport at Sport England, said: “The School Games is a great way for young people to discover new sports in a friendly environment. This is all possible thanks to National Lottery funding, which supports young athletes at both the grassroots and elite level.”

Richard is one of over 1,200 National Lottery funded elite athletes . The funding allows him to compete and train full time to the highest international standards. The National Lottery invested up to £2.2 billion in London 2012, allowing our athletes, venues and volunteers to shine on the world stage. It is continuing to invest in sport at all levels, supporting the next generation of Olympians and grassroots sports projects around the country.

Notes to editors

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Notes to Editors:
• National Lottery players raise over £35 million a week for Good Causes, more than £30 billion since the Lottery started in 1994. Over £6 billion of this has been invested in sport.