We’re entering peak marathon season, with thousands of ordinary Londoners gearing themselves up for next month’s London Marathon and other long-distance challenges.
On Sunday, in the Vitality Big Half, one far-from-ordinary Londoner, David Weir, the record-breaking wheelechair racer, was in winning form yet again as he crossed the finish line in Greenwich ahead of all his rivals.
As the six-time Paralympic gold medallist bids to win the London Marathon for ninth time, Weir is doing so with the generous backing of the members of Purley Downs Golf Club, who last month presented him with a cheque for £5,691.20 towards the valuable work of the Weir Archer Academy, formed with coach, Jenny Archer, to broaden sporting opportunities for para-athletes.
The money came from a year’s worth of charity fund-raising by the golf club’s men’s captain, Jerry Scola.
“I have some very good friends that have a daughter, Olivia Gallagher, who has cerebral palsy,” Scola said.
“She is also profoundly deaf and visually impaired. I first met Olivia when she was six years old, but I witnessed a massive transformation in her life after she joined the Weir Archer Academy in 2014.
“It gave her something to focus on, and I watched her build in confidence and self-esteem and today she is ranked No1 at 400metres and No2 at 100, 200 and 800. She has also won the Mirror Pride of Sport young sportsperson of the year, rubbing shoulders with Harry Kane and Laurence Dallagio at the awards ceremony.
“Without the Weir Archer Academy, none of this would have been possible.”
Archer has now coached athletes to more than 30 medals at international para championships.
The goal of the Weir Archer Academy is not only to nurture the next generation of para athletes, but to help improve their wellbeing in a family-orientated environment, bringing together parents, family members and friends along with a number of key supporters.
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