Mansfield backs Beijing-bound heroes
The public of Mansfield are being urged to show their support for five local athletes who are in Beijing to take part in this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games, including our double "Golden girl", Rebecca Adlington.
Mansfield District Council has created a special on-line Blog, which will allow local people to post their good luck messages to Rebecca Adlington (swimming, Olympics), Sam Hynd (swimming, Paralympics), Charlotte Henshaw (swimming, Paralympics), Arnie Chan (table tennis, Paralympics) and Chris Martin (discus, Paralympics).
The Blog, kindly hosted by Chad is open throughout both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and is available by going to: http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/send_your_messages_of_support_to_mansfield_s_olympians_and_paralympians_1_703448.
For those without access to the internet, good luck messages can also be left in a book available at the Civic Centre in Mansfield.
The Council's Executive Mayor, Tony Egginton hosted a special send-off event for the athletes. More than 200 community leaders and representatives from local sports clubs and businesses attended the civic send off ceremony on 10th June.
The evening included a display by the Mansfield Olympic Gymnastics Club, a parade of Mansfield's Olympians and Paralympians and a presentation about the work of the Armchair Club - an organisation which raises funds for and grant aids local sportsmen and women. Bryan Steel of Mansfield - who won bronze and silver medals at the Sydney and Athens Olympic Games - shared his experiences of the world's greatest sporting event.
Swimmers Rebecca Adlington, Sam Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw are all products of the Swimming Development programme provided by Mansfield District Council and Notts County Council. Both authorities hope that their achievements will serve as an inspiration to future local Olympians and Paralympians.
Mayor Egginton said, "Mansfield can feel immensely proud to have five athletes competing at this Summer's Olympics and Paralympics and I am sure that they will all do themselves, Mansfield and the country proud.
"We wanted to do something to show that the whole district is behind them and that we will all be rooting for them. We hope that the support can serve as inspiration to them, just as their achievements serve as an inspiration to the people of the Mansfield district."
"It's of particular pride to us that three out of the five competitors are swimmers, having all been part of our local swimming development programme at one time or another."
Profiles of the Mansfield athletes taking part in the Olympics and Paralympics:
Rebecca Adlington, Olympics, Swimming
DOB: 17 February 1989
Beijing 2008 is Rebecca's debut as an Olympian. A member of Nova Centurion Swimming Club and coached by Bill Furniss; she began swimming at the age of four and competing aged ten.
Having struck gold in the 800m Freestyle at this year's World Championships in a European Record time of 8:08.25, Rebecca went into the games with excellent chance of adding to her medal haul in Beijing.
And Rebecca has not disappointed. She has shot to national and international stardom after winning a thrilling 400m Freestyle final and in so doing became the first British woman to win Olympic swimming gold since 1960. What's more, Rebecca followed that up with an incredible performance to take a second Gold in the 800m Freestyle. In so doing she smashed a world record which has stood for almost 20 years and became the most successful British woman swimmer ever.
Rebecca's Beijing results:
10th Aug: Women's 400m Freestyle Heats - 2nd fastest qualifier, QUALIFIED FOR FINAL
11th Aug: Women's 400m Freestyle Final - 1st place, GOLD MEDAL
14th Aug: Women's 800m Freestyle Heats - Fastest qualifier, NEW OLYMPIC RECORD of 8:18.06
16th Aug: Women's 800m Freestyle Final - 1st place, GOLD MEDAL, NEW WORLD RECORD of 8:14.10
Arnie Chan, Paralympics, Table Tennis
DOB: 27 May 1957
Born in Vietnam; Arnie took up table tennis at the age of 22.
For Arnie, Beijing will be his sixth successive Paralympic Games. He has already won team bronze at the Seoul Games in 1988 and the individual bronze at the Barcelona Games of 1992.
More recently, he won silver at the European Championships in Slovenia last year and a gold medal at this year's Liverpool Open.
Charlotte Henshaw, Paralympics, Swimming
DOB: 16 January 1987
A member of the Nova Centurion Swimming Club for more than ten years; Charlotte has been competing for Great Britain since 2005.
Charlotte is a product of Mansfield District and Notts County Council's Swimming Development Programme. Charlotte is currently studying and training north of the border at Stirling University and has been adopted by Scottish Disability Sport.
The current Female Disability Swimmer of the Year; she recently took silver at the 2008 British Swimming Championships; setting, not only a personal best, but also, times that mark her out as number three in the world rankings in the SB6 100 metres event.
Sam Hynd, Paralympics, Swimming
DOB: 3 July 1991
Although Sam makes his Paralympic debut in Beijing; he has been swimming for Great Britain since 2004.
2008 has been a ground-breaking year for Sam. Not content breaking Wang Xiaofu's 400m freestyle record at the British Championships in April by almost two seconds and smashing this record at the Paralympic Trials in April - he subsequently broke his own record for a fourth and fifth time at the German Open Championships in Berlin.
Like Charlotte, Sam is a member of Nova Swimming Club and is coached by Glenn Smith through the Mansfield District and Notts County Council Swimming development programme.
The A-Level PE student says he is enjoying not doing as much studying and concentrating on the training and that's reflected in his recent performance.
RESULTS: SAM WON A BRONZE MEDAL IN THE SM8 200M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
SAM WON A GOLD MEDAL IN THE S8 400M FREESTYLE, SETTING A NEW WORLD RECORD WITH A TIME OF 4 MINUTES 26.25 SECONDS
Chris Martin, Paralympics, Discus
DOB: 1 November, 1971
A Gold medallist at the Sydney Paralympics and world recorder holder, Nottingham-born Chris Martin has recently returned to competitive action following a brief retirement.
After competing in Athens in 2004 Chris called it a day but tried his hand in competition again in 2007 and found he was still capable of a world class performance, throwing a distance that was ranked in the top three in the world. He confirmed his place in the Great Britain team with a world record throw at the British Open Championships in Manchester in June.
Chris now lives in Mansfield and competes for Mansfield Harriers, He has a degree in Computer studies from Nottingham Trent University.
RESULT: CHRIS WON A SILVER MEDAL IN THE F33 CLASS IN BEIJING