Great Britain sprint sensation Dina Asher-Smith is leading the call for increased fundraising activity to help young talented athletes after signing up as an official SportsAid Week ambassador. Dina, who received financial support from SportsAid as a teenager, has experienced an incredible season on the track having won gold and bronze at the Commonwealth Games before being crowned triple European champion in Berlin last month.
Dina, 22, joins fellow ambassadors Adam Peaty MBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Lutalo Muhammad and Laura Wright in giving her backing to this year’s initiative. SportsAid Week, which takes place from 24-30 September, has generated over £90,000 since its launch in 2016. The fundraising drive has received generous support from Olympians, Paralympians, National Governing Bodies, schools, universities, commercial partners and kind-hearted individuals looking to support the next generation.
“I remember when I received my first SportsAid award and it was at the time when I was starting to take the sport a bit more seriously,” said Olympic bronze medallist Dina. “It gets more expensive when you need more kit and to travel a bit further when there’s extra competitions – everything gets more demanding and SportsAid were one of the first to really believe in me. Everybody jokes about the ‘bank of mum and dad’ but that’s what we run off when we are younger athletes.
“That support from SportsAid helped my mum and dad immensely and also boosted my confidence,” continued Dina – who was shortlisted for SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award during the time she was supported by the charity. “That’s why I am encouraging people to get involved in SportsAid Week as the money raised will help other athletes and their families at a really important time in their development. I will always be grateful to SportsAid and want to say thank you for their help.”
Dina’s first SportsAid award came in 2012. She had already claimed two gold medals at the Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011 which kick-started an illustrious period at junior level. She was supported through the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), which is managed by SportsAid, in 2012/13 and went on to become double European junior champion before winning gold in the 100m as she returned to the World Junior Championships stage in Oregon in 2014.
SportsAid Week is designed to help young athletes striving to move into the senior ranks with the ambition of representing Great Britain at the Olympics and Paralympics - just like Dina when she was supported by the charity. Raising as little as £5 can be enough to help one of the country’s brightest prospects travel to their next training session. £1,000 would be able to fund a major one-off cost such as a warm-weather training camp or transport and accommodation for an international competition.
A fun and easy way to show your support is through the #MyMiles Challenge – a social media campaign asking fundraisers to undertake physical activity, covering a distance of their choice, before making a donation to SportsAid. #MyMiles is accessible to everybody – you can do a single mile or push for as many as 43 – that’s the distance a SportsAid athlete, on average, clocks up each week in training. #MyMiles. You can make a real difference to the future of British sport by getting involved.