Harrod Sport are proud to champion young local talent and have created the Ron Harrod Foundation to support promising local athletes, aged under 25, who face challenges funding their sporting career.
This year, Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo announced that three talented young athletes from Norfolk and Suffolk have been chosen to receive £5,000 of funding:
Jordan Catchpole – a 19-year-old para-swimmer
Serena Grace – a record-breaking 15-year-old runner
Kieran Mitchell – an 11-year-old skier
Kevin Utton, Director of Sports Sales and Marketing at Harrod Sport explains that: “Our judges simply couldn’t choose between all of the talent, so we are delighted to announce that we have three winners who will each share the pot and receive funding this year.”
About the Winners:
Jordan dropped out of school on medical grounds, at the age of 14, having been diagnosed with autism and significant learning difficulties, but has gone on to win gold in the 100m backstroke for the GB team at the Japan Open Para Championship.
In 2018 he won silver medals in both 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle in the para-swimming European Championships in Dublin.
Tony Bush of Active Suffolk describes Jordan as “an excellent swimmer with an established track record. He has the potential to make the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and this funding could make the difference!”
“I haven’t had time to celebrate yet because I’m in heavy training at the moment – but I will! It feels good to be recognised and believed in. It makes all the hard work seem even more worthwhile,” says Jordan. “My main aim in 2019 is to qualify for this year’s World Championships in April and compete in September… I am targeting the podium again.”
Serena began competing aged just 10 years old. In the last five years, she has represented the City of Norwich Athletics Club at County, Regional and National level. She has been Norfolk County Champion for the last three years in 60m, 100m, 200m and 300m in both U15 and U17 categories.
Her biggest achievement so far has been breaking the 300m County Championship record, which hadn’t been broken since the early 1990s – before Serena was born.
Anthony Ogogo said of Serena’s achievement: “Breaking a record that has stood for longer than she’s been alive is no mean feat. She must be extremely talented and hardworking.”
Serena was nominated by her mum, Vanessa Butcher who tells us that funding Serena’s athletics career as a single parent has been challenging: “I’ve often had to buy pre-owned footwear and equipment for her just so she can continue what she enjoys doing.”
Anthony explains, “Without foundations such as The Ron Harrod Foundation, young athletes like Serena would not have the financial support to be the best that they can be.”
Kieran is a talented young dry slope skier from Taverham, near Norwich. He plans to put the money towards a training/race camp with The Cross Collective, to allow him to compete abroad.
Judge Jack Herbert, P.E. Teacher at Pakefield Primary School, says: “He’s a young man with great potential who has already achieved so much. With funding, he could go far.”
Kieran has outlines his plans for the year: “I have just moved up an age group and I would like to do well again this season, but most of all I would like to do well in the British Championships this year. I am also hoping to attend all regional and national races and the all England championship later this year.”
Kieran was nominated by his dad, Dale, who explains: “I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and no longer work so the main challenges for us are the funding of all the equipment Kieran needs, the different dry slope training camps and races in the UK he requires to keep him at a competitive level. He would not have been able to train and compete abroad without the help of this funding.”
How the Winners were Chosen:
Following nominations from the public in autumn 2018, athletes were shortlisted by a judging panel including local Olympic Boxer Anthony Ogogo. Tony Bush from Active Suffolk and Jack Herbert, P.E. Teacher at Pakefield Primary. The winning athletes were then selected by Anthony Ogogo.
Reflecting on his involvement with the Foundation, Anthony said: “I was honoured to be asked to help pick some extremely deserving winners of the Ron Harrod Foundation grant. I too have been a young, aspiring athlete and I know the struggles that come with it, both financially and logistically. It truly was a pleasure selecting some well-deserved young athletes.”
About Harrod Sport:
Harrod Sport began in 1954, when founder Ron Harrod invested £300 and started to convert old herring nets into sports and gardening netting in a factory in Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Ron Harrod is a pioneer in goal post safety and became a co-founding member of the European Standards Committee (CEN Standards) in 1989. His son Chris Harrod (Chief Executive) currently represents the U.K. on the committee.
Ron Harrod, now 87, retired in 2005, but his children – Chris and Stephanie – ensure his legacy lives on, both in a business sense and with the ethos Ron maintained throughout the years that the ‘customer is king’.
In 2017, the company changed its name from Harrod UK to Harrod Sport.
For more information on Harrod Sport, please click [here]