Olympic silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad wowed guests at Rayner Essex’s Bloomsbury Lunch Club by leading a full taekwondo demonstration with current SportsAid athletes Viroshan Gnanapandithan and Jack Spall last Friday (4 November). Lutalo, who came within a second of winning gold in Rio, received support from SportsAid in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in the build-up to London 2012 where he managed to claim a bronze medal.
During the summer, Lutalo won the hearts of the nation after giving a heartfelt interview to the BBC following the disappointment of coming so close to achieving his dream of becoming Olympic champion. Guests at the Bloomsbury Lunch Club, hosted at BMA House in London, heard about Lutalo’s determination to go one better at Tokyo 2020 as he spent time answering questions on his career so far, future ambitions and the importance of SportsAid’s help.
“SportsAid has an been instrumental part of my career,” Lutalo, 25, from Walthamstow, told guests. “I say that because in 2009 I received my first SportsAid award and three years later I was at the London 2012 Olympic Games winning a bronze medal. That first award gave me and my parents the money to go to a couple of extra tournaments to help me get noticed by the GB Academy. It is so important and I’m so grateful I received that award when I was a young athlete.
“You see the financial pressure you’re putting on your mum and dad, all because they want to help you achieve your dream of becoming Olympic champion, so receiving that help from outside provides you with the recognition you’re going in the right direction. Organisations like SportsAid, who support you before you’ve made it and reach Team GB, as so important as a grant from them can be the difference between an athlete retiring early or going on to become a two-time Olympian like myself.”
Guests at the Bloomsbury Lunch Club had the opportunity to take part in a live auction with tickets to attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and the chance to see England v Australia in the Rugby Autumn Internationals at Twickenham Stadium up for grabs. For those unsuccessful in the auction, there was also a raffle with prizes including tickets to the ATP World Tours final in London, a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat.
The Bloomsbury Lunch Club has been run by Rayner Essex for over a decade to help raise funds to support the next generation of British sporting talent. The event takes place every three months and is open to new guests. The money generated by the Lunch Clubs has allowed Rayner Essex to support three athletes this year through SportsAid - Lola Anderson, Stefan Amokwandoh and Emyle Rudder. The financial award helped Emyle on his journey to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as a member of the 7-a-side football team.
"When I found out that Rayner Essex was going to support me I was really grateful," said Emyle. "The money has helped me to buy new football boots, to put petrol in the car for travelling to and from training and has also helped me to purchase other things that support my performance such as supplements. I received SportsAid when I had just fully returned back to training from injury and the award came at just the right time to help me on my road to Rio."
The next Rayner Essex Bloomsbury Lunch Club will be taking place in February 2017. Would you be interested in joining and showing your support for the next generation of British sports stars? Please contact Jean Archibald at Rayner Essex on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.