Derek Redmond, former British 400m record holder, now employed as Senior Co-ordinator for Sprints and Hurdles at UK Athletics, joined forces with current Norwich Union GB & NI athletes Martyn Rooney, Graham Hedman and Sara McGreavy at Loughborough High Performance Centre, passing on their advice to pupils from Castle Rock High School.
The extended deal signals SPAR’s ongoing commitment to the UK’s next generation of talented young sprinters through the SPAR Sprints Initiative first established in 2004. Martyn Rooney was one of the first athletes to benefit from a SPAR Sprints scholarship at the age of 17, in recognition of his dedication to the sport.
Martyn Rooney now has his sights set on his first Senior World Championships this summer in Osaka, Japan, he said: “I benefited from the SPAR Sprints Initiative a few years ago, the support really does help younger athletes to progress. I remember when I first got invited to take part in the training sessions I felt really privileged.”
The new two year agreement with SPAR commences immediately and provides a significant boost to the sport. The SPAR Sprints Initiative boasts 14 SPAR Sprint Centres throughout the UK with regular training sessions for local youngsters. SPAR will also continue to sponsor a series of Under 17 sprint races across the year at UK Athletics televised events.
Susan Darbyshire, Marketing Director SPAR UK, said: “ We are delighted to be offering this continued support to UKA so together we can foster skills amongst our young talented athletes, some of whom have the potential to compete in London, in five years time.
“We aim to support athletics at all levels; on a European, national and even grassroots level with our SPAR School Sports Day kits. “
Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of UK Athletics, said:
“Our extended contract with SPAR is great news for UK Athletics. Some of our brightest young sprinting talent including the likes of Ashlee Nelson and Chris Clarke, have emerged through the SPAR Sprints Initiative and are now preparing for their first major junior Championships this summer. We look forward to continuing a successful relationship with SPAR.”