Olympic champion Adam Peaty told young SportsAid athletes supported by MyLotto24’s ‘Winners of Tomorrow’ fund that they’ve ‘got to make all the sacrifices that are going to make the difference’ as he joined them for a special workshop at Loughborough University on Monday (3 October).
Adam, 21, was previously supported by SportsAid and attended an identical workshop, run in conjunction with Lloyds, just four years ago. The 100m breaststroke world-record holder reflected on his journey towards winning gold in Rio as he spoke to athletes.
“I was sat in your position four years ago - it goes fast but it goes slow as well!” said Adam. “With the help of SportsAid, I did my thing. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, and there were times when I thought ‘I need a job’ but I stuck to my swimming.
“Thankfully it did pay off. It’s about gambling. I put a high risk in myself and invested the time in what was going to make the difference to my swimming. You’ve just got make all the sacrifices that are going to make that difference for you.
“You’ve got to do what you do and every time you do want to give in, you push on even harder. I had days where I got up and I couldn’t move a muscle but some of those days can be my best sets as I get angry. You’ve got to find what works for you.”
Adam’s visit helped MyLotto24 bring to a close an action-packed month of activity in support of the inaugural SportsAid Week. The lotto betting company began a ‘Ride, run and row to Rio’ challenge at the beginning of September to help fundraise for the new initiative.
Olympians David Florence, Keri-anne Payne and Leon Taylor have all visited the MyLotto24 offices to contribute towards the 5,761 mile total with staff. SportsAid ambassador Laura Wright, the sporting soprano, has also stopped by to help chip in.
Many of the young athletes supported by MyLotto24 have been helping too, with 110m hurdler Khai Riley-Laborde, who has received SportsAid awards from the company for the last three years, and cyclist Will Tidball both adding miles in Loughborough.
“Athletics is such an expensive sport and you don’t get much funding – anything you do is from your parents,” said Khai. “To get the funding and support I do from MyLotto24, not just financially, but from a motivational point of view really helps.
“The award means I don’t need to focus on how I’m going to get the money and I can use it to become a better athlete and to work on my weaknesses. Last year I used it to go to Florida and I got to train with some of the best hurdlers like Dave Oliver and Jason Richardson.”
The workshop provided Khai, Will and many other beneficiaries of MyLotto24’s support with the opportunity to gain advice and guidance on nutrition, presentation skills and performance lifestyle from industry experts while also hearing from SportsAid alumnus Adam.
MyLotto24 has been a partner of SportsAid since 2014 – supporting 50 athletes each year. The company runs its own buddy scheme where staff and athletes are put in direct contact so they can hear about their achievements and provide extra recognition and support.
“When you spend time with them, it just feels like we’re all friends,” added Khai. “We don’t always talk about athletics, more just our every day lives. It’s relaxing and there’s no pressure. They give you confidence as they make you feel like you’re the star in the room.”
The MyLotto24 staff are over 90% of the way towards completing the ‘Ride, run and row to Rio’ challenge. They are on the last push towards reaching the distance they wanted to achieve to help support the next generation of British athletes for SportsAid Week.