Latest News | 8 July 2021

Nine Derbyshire-backed athletes to compete for Olympic glory

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A total of nine athletes who have received support from the Derbyshire Institute of Sport will be competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The latest athlete to seal their place was Jess Turner, who recently won gold at the Muller British Championships in the 400 metre hurdles.

She had previously achieved the Olympic qualifying time more than once this year, so when she won with a stadium record time of 54.83 seconds she automatically qualified for Tokyo.

Jess is among a group of medal hopefuls who receive – or have previously received – backing by DIS.

Chloe Maudsley, managing director at DIS, said: “Our aim when we set up DIS after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was to increase the number of Derbyshire-based world-class athletes.

“We hit our initial target of creating and supporting 20 world-class athletes by 2020 and that success has now been crowned by the nine athletes going to Tokyo this summer. We can’t wait to cheer them on.”

Also among those to have booked their place at the games is para-badminton champion Jack Shephard, who will make history as one of the first two badminton athletes to ever represent Team GB in the Paralympics.

Andy Wood, DIS performance consultant and former national badminton coach, said: “Para-badminton is being included for the first time at Tokyo 2020 and it has always been Jack’s aim to represent his country and win gold.

“I am delighted for him that he has this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Chesterfield’s Liam Pitchford will compete at his third Olympics at the age of just 27.

He competed in the table tennis team events at both the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

In 2016, he helped Team GB to reach the quarter finals where they were defeated by the Chinese team who ultimately took gold. Liam also competed in the singles in Rio, reaching the last 32.

Six other former DIS athletes had previously been announced as Olympians.

They are swimmers Jacob Whittle, Molly Renshaw, Sarah Vasey and Abbie Wood, along with marathon runners Jessica Piasecki and Ben Connor.

The aim of DIS is to develop, inspire and support champions. Its work is supported by businesses, including a number of Marketing Derby Bondholders.

Chloe said: “The good news just keeps coming for athletes who worked with us.

“I’d like to thank the businesses who sponsor DIS and its athletes through our Thrive Programme.

“Their support makes it possible for us to help talented athletes become world champions.”

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