Olympic superstars push to get more funding for sport
THREE medal winning Olympians have called on the borough and county councils to make as much funding as possible available for sport.
Tom Daley, Peter Reed and Sir Matthew Pinsent have spoken of the need to get more Crawley children into sport to ensure the promised legacy of this summer's Olympics is fulfilled.
The trio, who are sponsored by Nestlé, were in town visiting the firm's new headquarters in City Place, Manor Royal on Friday.
They held a meet-and-greet with staff and guests before passing around their medals and posing for photographs.
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Olympic rower Mr Reed, who scooped gold in the coxless four at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, said the value of grass-roots sport had to be recognised.
He said: "Firstly the council can promote healthy living and ensure young kids are healthy and active.
"And (they should) put as much money as possible into funding sport in clubs and schools. They need to help grass-roots sports get active.
"I was never very sporty when growing up because I wasn't always encouraged.
"My PE teacher once told my parents I was an unremarkable athlete."
Teenage diving sensation Mr Daley added that primary schools had an important role to play.
The London 2012 bronze medallist said: "If you can get kids into sport at a young age you've got a much better chance of developing them."
Four-time gold medal-winning rower Sir Matthew acted as host at the event.
He posed questions to his younger counterparts before allowing the audience to ask their own.
Mr Daley also spoke of having to balance his school work with training for the Olympics.
The 18-year-old said: "It was manic all the time.
"Normally what I would do is two lessons of school, two hours training, then another two lessons of school and another three hours training, up to five days a week.
"You have to sacrifice a lot.
"To win that bronze medal meant so much to me – to sacrifice so much and have something to show for it."
Speaking to the News before the meet-and-greet started, Mr Reed revealed his cheekier, less sporting side.
Team Nestlé athletes take part in regular charity and public relations events and in one, his competitive side got the better of him.
He said: "I was competing against Matt (Pinsent) in a kayaking event. He was winning so I grabbed the back of his boat and pulled him back.
"It wasn't the Olympics and I was losing so I had no problem with it."
Mr Reed also told the audience he recommends a career in the Armed Forces to anyone.
He was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy before he discovered his talent for rowing.
It was during a fitness test in the Gulf that he discovered his physical potential for the sport.
He said: "I joined the Navy when I was 18. I saw my mum cry for the first time but I just loved it.
"I learned discipline and hard work. I wouldn't have been a rower if it wasn't for the Navy."