Bromsgrove para-athlete greeted during House of Lords celebrations
Bromsgrove table tennis star para Craig Allen reveled in hanging out with three British sports heroes after being chosen to attend a special parliamentary reception hosted by Baroness Tanni Gray-Thompson in the House of Lords.
Allen’s table tennis career is supported by a partnership between Entain – owner of Ladbrokes and Coral – and SportsAid, and the talented athlete was one of 15 athletes handpicked to attend the celebratory event at Westminster.
Gray-Thompson, 11-time Paralympic champion, was joined by former Olympic champion Mohamed Sbihi and five-time Paralympic medalist Natasha Baker at the reception which celebrated the impact of SportsAid and Entain funding in transforming young careers.
Allen, 26, had the unique opportunity to absorb the eminent ideas of Gray-Thompson, Sbihi and Baker and enjoy a day in the capital to be savored at this iconic political venue.
And the ace from Bromsgrove, who won international medals in Mexico, Romania and Spain on a world tour in his Class 9 category, said: “SportsAid and Entain have definitely been helpful.
“During Covid, SportsAid and Entain offered us a number of things to do on the zoom, like having conversations with athletes like Moe.
“It helps in that sense because we can learn from their experiences. Even if none of us have gone through something like Covid before, if they have had any injuries it will be a similar experience – they won’t be able to do the fitness or training or be able to leave the house a lot. .
“SportsAid and Entain have helped me financially and that has been huge, not just in terms of financial support, but also in terms of setting things up for us and saying he’s there if you want to seize the opportunities. ”
Allen, who grew up training at the Arrow Vale Table Tennis Club, had the chance to mingle with other athletes supported by SportsAid and Entain before listening to speeches from Gray-Thompson, Sbihi and Baker to cap off the two hours. memorable.
And Gray-Thompson, who racked up 16 mind-blowing Paralympic medals between Seoul 1988 and Athens 2004, said: “Sport is so important to British society – not just the success of medals, but also giving young people the chance to. be the best you can be. .
“My career and a lot of what I have done has been based on the support I received from SportsAid, and it’s amazing to see that support come back to young athletes in the future.”
SportsAid alumni have won 14 gold, 19 silver and 14 bronze medals for the GB team this summer while at the Paralympics they have won 26 gold, 33 silver and 35 bronze as the groundbreaking impact of funding was showcased on the world’s biggest sporting scene.
More than 400 athletes from Team GB and ParalympicsGB in Tokyo had previously received funding from SportsAid and Baker, who won silver at Tokyo 2020, said: “I remember receiving my first grant from SportsAid and this made a huge difference.
“Not just in a monetary sense, but it opens a lot of doors and allows you to do things that you couldn’t have done without that money.”
Rower Sbihi, who added bronze in the men’s eight to his coxless four glory in Rio, added, “The support and self-confidence from SportsAid has helped me bridge that gap to the next level.
“I was able to represent GB as a junior and 18 years later I’m sitting here talking to the young athletes.”
Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to champion the next generation of British sports heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to know more.