MARK Nesbitt has joined fellow sport stars across the UK to say ‘Thank You’ to National Lottery players for their life-changing funding.
The Ballyvally archer received National Lottery funding and is part of the TeamGB Olympic Ambition programme. The Programme focuses on preparing athletes and coaches to compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games or the Rio 2016 Olympic Games producing a performance legacy from 2012.
Mark has benefited from intensive, individually tailored services at the National Lottery-funded Sports Institute of Northern Ireland base at the University of Ulster Jordanstown.
Since National Lottery athlete funding started in 1997, there has been a monumental change in the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic performance:
438 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won by Lottery-funded athletes.
Just one gold medal was won pre-funding at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, compared to 19 golds in Beijing in 2008.
Paralympics GB was placed fourth at Atlanta in 1996. Paralympics GB has since climbed to second place in the medal table following huge success in Beijing.
Seb Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, said: “I’d like to thank all National Lottery players for their support. Not only has The National Lottery invested £2.2 billion into the infrastructure and venues, but they’re also helping athletes to be the best they can be. Funding from organisations like The National Lottery make a huge difference to an athlete’s life and can help ensure they go from having the potential to succeed to actually achieving their dreams.”
National Lottery funding is also inspiring future generations by upgrading local sports clubs and facilities, and providing opportunities for more people to enjoy sport.
Dr Shaun Ogle, Director of Performance Sport at Sport Northern Ireland, said: “National Lottery funding continues to make a life-changing difference at all levels of sport, giving everyone the chance to fulfil their potential. No one has contributed more to our athletes than National Lottery players.”