BT today demonstrated its commitment to disability sport and the development of the next generation of Paralympic talent with the appointment of two new athletes to its ambassador team, Julie Rogers and Ben Rowlings.
Julie and Ben were unveiled as the latest BT Ambassadors at a mentoring session at Loughborough’s High Performance Athletics Centre with Paralympic Gold medallists and BT Ambassadors Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft.
With all four athletes hoping to compete at the 2015 IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha in October, the mentoring session was an opportunity for Jonnie and Hannah to share their experience and knowledge of competing on a world stage, as well as provide expert training tips.
Julie Rogers was one of the youngest participants in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, representing Great Britain in the Sitting Volleyball team. She has since changed her sport to athletics, where she has become one of the fastest female single leg amputee sprinters in the UK. Julie was born with a congenital disorder and had an operation to shorten her leg at the age of five in order to be able to use an above-the-knee prosthetic limb.
Ben Rowlings is a wheelchair-racing athlete, competing in the T34 class. He won a Bronze medal in the 2014 European Championships and is the current British record holder over three distances. As part of the Team GB World Class Performance Programme, Ben is currently training for the 2015 World Championships in Doha and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. He has Spastic Diplega Cerebral Palsy, which affects all four of his limbs.
Julie Rogers says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the BT Ambassador team. BT has done so much for disability sport and has helped so many athletes like me realise their dreams. The mentoring session BT organised today has been really valuable to me. Jonnie and Hannah are two athletes I look up to, so to have the chance to get some training tips is definitely going to help me going forward.”
Ben Rowlings adds, “Today has been an amazing opportunity to find out more about competing on a world stage. With the IPC World Championships and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on the horizon, hearing about Jonnie and Hannah’s experiences has been invaluable. BT’s long-term commitment to Paralympic sport is unrivalled and I’m excited to be joining their Ambassador team.”
Jonnie Peacock, who won a Gold medal in the 100m at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, explains, “BT has been supporting me as an athlete for four years now, so I know exactly how their support can help up-and-coming talent. If there is anything I can do to help nurture and develop the next generation of Paralympic talent so that we win more medals as a nation, then I am always up for it. Spending time with Julie and Ben today has shown me just what a great GB team we have. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they do and will be cheering them on.”
Hannah Cockroft, who won two Gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games adds, “I’ve had a fantastic day here at Loughborough, swapping stories and training tips with Jonnie, Ben and Julie. Paralympic sport has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, and a lot of that is down to BT’s support and commitment. With the IPC World Championships later this year and the Rio Paralympic Games next year, we’re all focused on making Great Britain proud and bringing home lots of medals.”
Suzy Christopher, head of brand partnerships at BT, says, “We’re delighted to welcome Julie and Ben into our Ambassador team, and will be following their progress, alongside that of Jonnie and Hannah, as the new athletics season begins and preparation for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gets underway.”
BT is a long-term supporter of disability sport in the UK and leading organisation in inclusion and diversity as well as the founding partner of the British Paralympic Association.