Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Golden World Championships for Team 17

The 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar have been a golden occasion for Team17, with three gold medals for Hannah Cockroft, two individual golds and a relay silver for Richard Browne and some great performances from Ben Rowlings.
Hannah was first in action on the opening day of the Championships, winning gold in a T34 championship record of 17.73 over 100m. This was Hannah's third World title over 100m, having been successful in Christchurch 2011 and Lyon 2013. Next up for Hannah was the 800m, a new event in the World Championships programme but this did not deter Hannah, who won in another new championship record of 2:07.10. Hannah then picked up her third gold medal and third championship record in the 400m on the closing day of the event.

It has been a very successful World Championships for Hannah with a clean sweep of gold medals. A great achievement seeing as Hannah had never competed in a World 400m or 800m race before and it is a just reward for all of the work that she has put in this year. We look forward to more on track success for Hannah in 2016.

Hannah Cockroft
Richard started his Championships on the fourth day, cruising through his 200m T44 Semi Final. In the following days Final, Richard was in blistering form, destroying the field to win gold in a new World Record time of 21.27. Richard followed up his 200m gold with a dominant performance in the 100m Final, taking the title in 10.61 to set another new World Record. Richard closed out his championships by anchoring the US 4 x 100m relay team to a silver medal.

Whilst Richard has had an awesome World Championships, winning gold medals and breaking world records, the future is incredibly exciting as there is so much more to come from this very talented athlete. Watch out for some very special things from "Winged Foot" in 2016, it's going to be beyond incredible.

Richard Browne
It was a great Championships for 19 year old Ben Rowlings, who was taking part in his first competition on the World stage. Ben managed to successfully qualify for three out of four of his T34, World finals missing out on just the 100m. Ben agonisingly finished in fourth place in both the 400 and 800m, whilst coming seventh in the 200m. 
All in all, whilst Ben did not medal, he has still had a fantastic championships, particularly when you remember that this was his first ever event at world level, there are definitely exciting times ahead for big Ben.
Ben Rowlings
"We're very proud of the performance of all of our athletes who competed in Doha" said Ian Byers, Director of 17 Sports Management. "Whilst Hannah and Richard were probably pre-race favourites for their events, they still had to deal with the added pressures that being favourite brings. Seeing them deliver under those circumstances and breaking records too was fantastic. Ben did incredibly well, particularly as this was his first World Championships, he will be far better for the experience of competing at this level" he added. "The knowledge that our athletes have gained in Doha can only be of great benefit when they compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio next year".
"We really appreciate the support and assistance provided by Hannah, Richard and Ben's sponsors, this valuable support enables them to perform consistently at the highest level. With the Paralympic Games taking place next year, the competition will move up another level and if anybody would like to get on board and support these fantastic athletes, I would be pleased to hear from them" said Ian.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012
Follow Richard on Twitter @winged_foot
Follow Ben on Twitter @BenRowlings
Contact, Ian Byers;
Photos courtesy of IPC Athletics / Getty Images.
#Gold #Medal #GoldMedal #WorldRecord #Athletics #Doha2015 #Paralympics #Rio2016 #Team17 #BeyondIncredible #IPC

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Richard Browne becomes a Pink Ribbon Foundation Ambassador

Having lost his grandmother to breast cancer in 2012, US Paralympic T44 track athlete Richard Browne has become an Ambassador for the Pink Ribbon Foundation.

"Coming from a large family of nine siblings, my grandmother was very instrumental in my upbringing. I am therefore keen to use my profile to help increase awareness and educate people about the disease and to honour my grandmother" said Richard. "Now that I am based in the UK, I am proud to support the work of the Pink Ribbon Foundation".

Richard with Jonathan Prince of the Pink Ribbon Foundation
Each year 55,000 women and around 350 men in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly the disease claims the lives of around 12,000 women each year. One in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime but the good news is that, more people are surviving the disease than ever before.

Richard added; "it is important that women keep fit and healthy, I want to encourage them to have a healthy diet, to exercise, to play sport and to adopt a healthy lifestyle which will help them to reduce the risk of breast cancer in the future".

Richard with the famous Playboy bunny girls
Welcoming Richard as an Ambassador of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, at an event held at the world famous Playboy Club in London, charity trustee Jonathan Prince said; "we are delighted to welcome Richard, an elite high profile athlete, to help us increase awareness of breast cancer, the need for people to live healthy and active lifestyles, and the work of the Pink Ribbon Foundation. We appreciate him giving up his time and look forward to cheering him on in the upcoming World Championships. I would also like to thank our friends at the Playboy Club for their continued support of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, for creating a special Pink Ribbon cocktail and for making us so welcome today".
Richard mixes a Pink Ribbon cocktail at the Playboy Club
The Pink Ribbon Foundation is a grant making trust with a mission to fund projects and provide financial support to charities which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, or who have been affected by breast cancer or who work to advance the understanding of breast cancer, its early detection and treatment.

The Foundation is impartial and is committed to bringing together individuals, charities and organisations to fight this terrible disease together. Every year the Foundation invites charities concerned with breast cancer to apply for grants from the money raised. Operating in this way allows the Foundation to help charities both large and small. Any charity concerned with Breast Cancer is entitled to apply for a grant.

Richard Browne will compete in the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22 and 31 October 2015. He will contest the individual T44 100m, 200m (an event in which he is the current World Record holder) and the 4 x 100m relay, as a member of Team USA.

More information on the Pink Ribbon Foundation can be obtained from;
Jonathan Prince,, 01689 858877

Richard Browne is represented by 17 Sports Management Limited;
Contact; Ian Byers,, 01920 831147

Follow on Twitter; @pinkribbonfound  @winged_foot

#BreastCancerAwareness #PinkRibbon #Athletics #Playboy

Friday, 16 October 2015

Hannah Cockroft targets three gold medals at the World Championships

Wheelchair speedster Hannah Cockroft MBE flew to Doha this week looking for glory at her third consecutive World Championships, which take place between 22 and 31 October.

It's quite fitting that the athlete studying journalism will have plenty to write about when her racing days are done.

Even as it stands, the 23-year-old is a double Paralympic gold medallist and quadruple world champion – quite a feat for the Halifax-born lass who grew up in the hamlet of Mount Tabor – fit with its gold post box to commemorate one of her London 2012 medals.

Yet Cockroft continually stresses her desire to remember her roots with the city of Leeds majorly important in the Paralympian’s success story which, in truth, has only just begun. Never mind Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020, at just 23 years of age even the 2024 Paralympics could be on the long-term agenda.

Hannah has become the female face of wheelchair racing after a sensational five years that has seen her bag eight golds at Paralympics, Worlds or Europeans. But the former Calderdale College pupil can well remember her humble roots joining Leeds City Athletics Club as a teenager to be coached by Paul Moseley.

These days, Team GB are responsible for the athlete’s coaching which this year has been geared around this month’s World Championships where Cockroft will bid for three golds in the 100m, 400m and 800m T34 class.

A single gold would act as automatic qualification for Rio and Cockroft heads to Doha as a reigning champion having savoured victory in both the 100m and 200m at the last two World Championships in Christchurch and Lyon, though she now faces a new challenge with organisers shelving the 200m event for the 800m contest. With the Yorkshire ace also tackling the new 400m, three gold medals could be on their way back to Mount Tabor.

Rest assured Cockroft will be showcasing any future glories in Leeds, a city the Paralympian says has been integral to her transformation to sporting stardom.

Taking time out of her busy schedule before jetting out to Doha, Cockroft told the Yorkshire Evening Post; “I’m a member of Leeds City Athletic club and I’ve been there at least seven years and Leeds has been really important to me.

“I had my coach here when I started, I still come and train with the group here when I’m around and it’s nice to come back and have someone who remembers who you were before all the glory and still kind of treats you as that person. They are real friends there, they are real people and if ever for some God forsaken reason everything went wrong they would still be here and I’d fall back on them and they’d still catch me and help me. It’s nice just to have that little safety net there.

“Next year will be my second Paralympic Games and it just seems weird that London was three years ago already. It feels like it was yesterday and yet it feels like it was forever ago".

“It’s such an odd thing to think about because so much has happened since then and you don’t want to hang on past glories. But it was just such a momentous occasion that I’ll always live off it and you can see the change in it by just how many competitors are coming through. It’s just amazing.

“After London I came back to Leeds City Athletic Club where I trained before London to show them my gold medal and when we trained here there were maybe four or five us who trained together. “But I came back and there were old people, young people, people my age, everyone, about 20 people trying out wheelchair racing and I think that is just a pure show of legacy. That is what it is all about – showing people that you might have a disability but actually you can do whatever you want.

“It’s great and I do see that still every day, there’s so many youngsters that have come through since London that are now world champions, world record holders. It’s amazing and it just shows that actually all these people were sat at home thinking they couldn’t do things when actually they had just raw talent inside of them.”

Cockroft was that person when watching the Beijing 2012 Games. Four years later, she was one of London’s heros and it would take a brave man to predict anything but another gold rush at Rio this time next year.

Yet Cockroft actually faces a new challenge in adapting to new distances, a new dimension that the 23-year-old is relishing. Cockroft explained: “We’ve got two new events this year because they have replaced the 200m with an 800m and they added an extra 400m earlier this year. So it’s a great opportunity to have to go to these championships – it’s exciting and it kind of gives me a chance to show that I can do more than put my head down and race in a straight line and I can think about what I’m doing while I’m doing it.

“It is a challenge and it’s going to be tough because the rest of the world is catching up very quickly. But that’s nice, it’s nice to kind of go out there and show people that there is competition now and it is going to be exciting to watch.

“I’m doing the 100m, the 400m and the 800m – instead of the 200m – so I guess I’m going for a hat-trick! Fingers crossed that’s the plan. “But it seems scary, I think I am racing six days out of the 10 days’ competition so I know it’s going to be really tough and something totally new to handle. “But I like a challenge!”

The Doha heat adds another aspect to the size of the task – temperatures are set to reach 37 degrees centigrade tomorrow – and Cockroft admitted: “It’s not going to be who is the fittest and healthiest and fastest, it’s going to be who is handling the heat best. I went out in February as that’s where we had our first race of the season and it was just something else. You really can’t recreate that, it’s horrible!”

Perhaps, then, Cockroft will be happy to learn that four months of snow are forecast on her return to Yorkshire where the athlete will remain based between now and Rio while she takes a gap year in her degree in journalism at Coventry University. First stop after Doha will be mum and dad Rachel and Graham’s house in Mount Tabor but the Cockrofts are an international family with brothers Joshua and Daniel living in Finland and Pennsylvania respectively and long term the air miles will continue to soar. Cockroft laughed: “I’ve recently moved back home to Halifax and it’s nice to be home. It’s nice to be back where my mum can cook my dinner and dad can wash my car!”

Cockroft, though, will remain in the fast lane, admitting even after a glut of medals there is still so much more to achieve.

Assessing how long she might continue, Cockroft reasoned: “For me it’s a tough thing to call because my disability doesn’t have a diagnosis so we don’t know how things are going to impact on it, how it’s going to get worse or get better. There’s a lot of unanswered questions. My plan is to make it to Tokyo 2020. I’d love to see how I feel then and it depends where hosts the 2024 Games. If it’s a country I’d like to visit then maybe we can hold on a bit longer.

“Obviously the Olympics is the pinnacle of every athlete’s career but I haven’t had the chance to race at a Commonwealth Games so I’d love a chance to do that. “There’s still everything to aim for and everything to race for. And I’m having fun with it so let’s carry it on.”
Courtesy of The Yorkshire Evening Post.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HCDream2012
#Rio2016 #Doha2015 #London2012 #Gold #Champion #Athletics

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Tom Bosworth talks to the BBC

Race walker Tom Bosworth competed for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships, is set to feature at the Rio Olympics and is the first athlete on the team to come out as gay.

Coming out is no surprise to my friends, family and even team-mates, even Mo Farah who didn't bat an eyelid when I told him I was gay. I got to know him and others on the Great Britain endurance team prior to the World Athletics Championships in August after we spent a few weeks on a pre-training camp in Japan.

It was a great chance to talk about it in a relaxed environment and everyone was very supportive of me being the first openly gay athlete on the GB team.

But there were some interesting questions when I told them about my circumstances. My team-mates asked whether I had a partner and how old I was when I came out. They were intrigued by my sexuality and asked me whether I got any stick for being openly homosexual. 

The truth is that I used to. When I was competing in local athletics a number of years ago, some other athletes called me 'fag' or 'queer'. 

And when I was at school, when those feelings were still developing, I had my head smashed through a window by a group of boys. Thankfully, that's all in the past now. 

Whilst my current team-mates were interested to talk about my sexuality, they soon realised there was nothing to be concerned about and all was perfectly normal. It was great that everyone could be themselves as the pressure built in camp before a major championships. 

It shows you that if someone of Mo's stature can be supportive then there should be no issues from others. I wish that all athletes from my past had been as positive as Mo.

About four or five years ago, some former athletes in local athletics would verbally abuse me. It was pretty nasty, and made worse by the fact they found it funny. Thankfully, they were in the minority.

In the end, I just ignored them. I realised they had no positive part to play in my life and fortunately I had enough people around me who I could rely on for support.

Sometimes, you have to be a bit thick-skinned about it all and I learned that lesson, sometimes literally, in school.

When I was 15 or 16, I thought I was gay and somehow word got around in school, leading to a really difficult period in my life. Teenagers can be really nasty and half the time they don't even realise what they're saying. It's just ignorance, I guess.

A group of lads used to gang up on me and the worst episode came when they smashed my head through a window after a run-in. I decided not to tell anyone about it, so my parents or teachers didn't know. I guess I was more worried about people blaming me than the students but I had the support of my friends to get me through that tough time. 

It was a decade ago, so I'd like to think that things have moved on a lot since then, even in schools, and that kids are more tolerant these days. 

That experience taught me to ignore lone voices. I know there will always be people who have a problem with my sexuality, but one person's opinion doesn't affect me now, as I have support from my parents and partner.

I'm not even sure I can change the opinions of those boys. All I want to do is give a positive message that you can succeed in sport whatever your background. Be it gay, straight, black, white, religious or non-religious - there are no barriers.
Courtesy of the BBC.
Follow Tom on Twitter  @TomBosworth

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Jordanne Whiley receives her MBE from The Princess Royal

Wheelchair tennis star Jordanne Whiley has today received her MBE from Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
"It was an amazing experience to share the day with my family" said Jordanne, "It is a great honour to receive my MBE from the Princess Royal, it's a memory that I will cherish forever".
Jordanne admitted that when she first received the letter informing her of her nomination; "It's amazing, I didn't expect it at all, I Just couldn't believe it, I thought it was a mistake". "I read the letter five or six times before it started to sink in".
It's been quite a year for Jordanne, retaining her doubles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with her partner Yui Kamiji and going to Number One in the World Doubles rankings. Then followed the biggest success of her career to date, in September, when she won the US Open Singles title in New York.
Jordanne still has two more major tournaments this year, the world Masters Doubles in Los Angeles and the NEC Singles Masters in London.
Who knows what 2016 will hold?
You can follow Jordanne on Twitter; @jordannejoyce92 and visit her website
#MBE #BuckinghamPalace #Tennis #GrandSlam #AustralianOpen #Wimbledon #USOpen


Monday, 5 October 2015

"Winged Foot" signs with 17 Sports Management

United States Paralympic track star Richard Browne Jr, has signed to be represented by 17 Sports Management Limited.

"We are delighted to welcome Richard to #Team17 and are excited to be working with him" said 17 Sports Management Director Ian Byers. "Richard has a very special talent and we will work closely with him and his coaching team to manage his career, maintaining the correct balance at all times between his training, competition, commercial and media activities." "Richard transcends disability sport, he is the complete package; talented, hard working, with character and personality. He can run fast, very fast and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be one of the greatest athletes of all time" he added.

T44, below the knee amputee sprinter Richard, known throughout the athletic world as "Winged Foot", took up running in 2011, after his leg was amputated in 2010 as a result of an accident back in 2007. He won a silver medal over 100m at the London 2012 Paralympics, a feat he repeated at the 2013 World Championships. The current world record holder over 60 and 200m, the 100m record is "just out on loan" says Richard, who recently saw compatriot Jarryd Wallace break the record.

Richard's pursuit to be the very best has seen him recently leave his young family behind in the United States and base himself in the UK ahead of Rio and the 2017 World Championships in London. "Disappointingly para athletics in the States is still very small, although the USOC and NBC are working hard to change that. In the UK and Europe, the profile of the sport is much higher and the coaches have more experience in working with amputee athletes" said Richard. "It was a terrible wrench to leave my family behind in the States and live abroad, but it is a sacrifice that I am prepared to make to be able to achieve my dreams".

Next up on track for Richard is the IPC World Championships in Doha, Qatar, between 22 and 31 October, where he will compete for three World titles, over 100m, 200m and in the US team in the 4 x 100m relay. Following which his attention will be focused on the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Before Rio however, Richard hopes to compete in more Diamond League meetings and in races against able bodied competitors, saying "Oscar Pistorious was really the first athlete to cross over into able bodied races and he got a lot of recognition for that but unfortunately his personal situation has since overshadowed everything". "I enjoy the challenge of testing myself against able bodied sprinters, I want to be regarded as a great athlete and certainly don't want to be treated as a curiosity".

Away from the track, Richard has set up his own foundation; Never Stop Inc. The aim of the foundation being to help specifically newly disabled people to get back to being active. Richard also campaigns to promote Breast Cancer Awareness and he will be dying his hair pink in Doha to honour his grandmother who died from the disease.

Richard and his team at 17 Management have also been working on  a new personal website which is coming soon;

Despite Richard's success, high level of profile and colourful personality, other than Ossur who supply his prosthesis, he currently has no other sponsors. "I was very surprised to learn that Richard is currently only supported by Ossur" said Ian Byers. "It is obvious that Richard can offer significant exposure and add value to any potential commercial partners. I would urge any companies interested in working with him to get in touch". Ian can be contacted, by Email; or telephone +44 (0)1920 831147.

17 Sports Management, based in Hertford, UK, represent the interests of a number of disabled and able bodied sports people, from World Champions to up and coming new talent. More information on the company and the athletes represented can be found at
You can follow Richard on Twitter @winged_foot 

#WingedFoot #Athletics #United States #WorldChampionships #Doha2015 #Paralympics #Rio2016 #London2017 #NeverStop

Photographs courtesy of Peter Milsom