Great Yarmouth sprinter calls on Norfolk businesses to sponsor aspiring athletes
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013
A 19-year-old sprinter is urging people to keep the Olympic legacy alive by lending their support to Norfolk's aspiring athletes.
Richard Taylor, a member of Great Yarmouth and District Athletics Club, left his home in Ormesby St Margaret, near Great Yarmouth, yesterday to start a sports and exercise science degree at Loughborough University.
And as he headed to Leicestershire, the former East Norfolk Sixth Form student called on Norfolk businesses to lend their support, through financial backing or sponsorship, to other young sportsmen and women in need.
Richard is sponsored by BWell Gym, in Gorleston, whose owners, Paul Brice and Spencer McCormick, invited him to train at their facility after hearing about his talent on the track.
The athlete, who moved to the east coast from London six years ago, has also been helped by grants from the Mason Trust and the Sir Philip Reckitt Educational Trust (SPRET), and by physiotherapist Glen Smith at Great Yarmouth Physical Therapy.
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'I want to say a huge thank you to the businesses and the trusts that helped me out because they have changed my life,' he said. 'I think more companies in the area can do more to help young athletes around here.
'The Olympics left a massive legacy, but I worry that's not going to filter down if the local businesses don't step up.'
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Richard, who turns 20 tomorrow (Septemnber 27), has loved athletics since school and joined Yarmouth's athletics club while at Caister High School. He has represented the club at various levels, including national contests, and last summer ran a Personal Best of 21.8 seconds in the 200 metres.
Success, he said, was due in part to the support he's received from businesses and coach Barbara Clark.
'She was a new coach when I started so we've been together from day one really,' he said.
'She has taken me around the country to compete and really looked after me which shows her level of commitment to the sport and to the athletes.
'My school and college were incredibly supportive as well. I've been very lucky to have that level of support.
'I know one kid who is really talented; he's five years younger than me but his personal bests are already close to mine.
'He could go far, but his family are unable to fund all the travel, the hotel rooms and everything, so they might have to pull him out which is really tough.'
At university, Richard will continue to strike a balance between education and athletics. He hopes to go into coaching or continue competing.
'Right now education comes first, but I would love to wear that GB kit,' he said.