Two Olympic athletes have become ambassadors for a Doncaster charity passionate about supporting young people to become more physically active.
Sarah Stevenson is a European and World Taekwondo Champion as well as an Olympic Bronze Medallist who started her career in her hometown of Doncaster.
Craig Heap has won nine British titles and has represented Great Britain over one hundred times internationally, including European and World championships. He Captained England to their first men’s Team Gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and again four years later at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. In addition, made the All-Around final at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Both have said their lives would not have been the same without sport, and have come on board Active Fusion’s mission to help every child to develop a love for being active by unlocking potential and creating positive habits for life.
Sarah said without taekwondo, her life could have taken a very different path.
“I used to be a very shy person. Taking part in taekwondo helped me come out of my shell and find a confidence and self-belief that hadn’t previously been there,” she said.
“Sport isn’t only about physical capability – it’s about the skills being physically active and taking up sport can bring out in young people. A lot of the skills you need to be successful in life are required to be successful in sport, such as communication, dedication, commitment and hard work. I can see that bringing out these skills through sport are part and parcel of Active Fusion’s ethos and that’s something I can’t wait to be a part of.”
Craig said that having an interest in gymnastics raised his aspirations.
“I wasn’t the most academic in school and didn’t always apply myself as much as I should have,” he said.
“I was born into dairy farming and thought that was the path my life would take, until I was dragged along to the local sports centre to watch my sister and my interest in gymnastics was sparked.
“I faced a lot of challenges – it wasn’t easy being a gymnast and attending an all-boys schools and I was even told that I wasn’t strong or talented enough to be a successful gymnast.
“But despite all that, I persevered and eventually achieved a lifelong dream of competing at the Olympics, where I got a personal best score.
“Not applying myself as much as I should at school has had implications in other parts of my life. Some kind of English qualification certainly would have made it easier for me to get into broadcasting! So when I meet young people now, I always tell them to apply themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best – as long as you work hard, you’ll achieve things.
“I’m really looking forward to supporting Active Fusion because I believe my journey is reflected in the work they do.”
Both ambassadors encouraged organisations to help Active Fusion support young people throughout South Yorkshire and beyond.
They said: “Active Fusion really does have a fantastic cause. By helping children and young people become more active today, they are helping to develop the aspirational, healthy and happy adults of tomorrow.
“We’d encourage local organisations to consider supporting Active Fusion through their corporate, social, responsibility strategies or getting in touch with them to discuss the ways to can help.”