Surrey Sports Park unveils ambassadors
06 January 2010
Surrey Sports Park has unveiled details of the leading sportsmen and women who will be ambassadors for the superb new facility which will open this Spring. Alec Stewart, Gail Emms, Mark Foster, Allan Wells, Geva Mentor, Chad McKnight and Vicki Hansford will be used in a variety of roles to help promote the Surrey Sports Park and to help establish it as one of the leading recreational and sporting facilities in the country.
Alec Stewart is one of England’s most capped cricketers of all time and a sportsman who is inextricably linked with Surrey. He has a very strong association with Guildford having played regularly for Surrey there and he was also awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in 2005. Mark Foster is one of the UK’s top swimmers having competed for GB in no less than five Olympic Games. Gail Emms is Britain’s best known badminton player and with her doubles partner Nathan Robertson won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Talking about the new Surrey Sports Park on one of his recent visits, Alec Stewart said, “The Surrey Sports Park will provide exactly the quality of sports facility that the county desperately needs. It will without question make Surrey one of the key sporting centres in the country at what is one of the most important times for sport in the UK.” Mark Foster on seeing the magnificent 50 metre swimming pool and aquatic facilities under construction last month described it as “among the best in the world”. Gail Emms was extremely excited about the contribution that the new badminton centre at the Surrey Sports Park will make to developing the sport in the region. “It is very exciting to see badminton being given such prominence within a brand new multi-sport facility. Top quality courts positioned within such a wonderful overall set up are essential for the sport if the UK is to continue to develop as one of the leading badminton playing countries.”
Two of the other ambassadors, Chad McKnight and Geva Mentor are vital to the development of two further flagship sports at the new Surrey Sports Park - Basketball and Netball. McKnight is the Player/Coach of The Guildford Heat Basketball team and Mentor, who plays for England and Surrey Storm, is one of the most exciting young talents in women’s netball. Both are key to the success of their sports at the Surrey Sports Park.
The final two ambassadors are names that are synonymous with the University of Surrey. Allan Wells and Vicki Hansford both work at the University and have aided the process of developing the new Surrey Sports Park over several years. Wells is a genuine sporting legend having won the 100 metre Olympic gold medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Hansford is a Paralympian who won a bronze medal in adaptive rowing at the Paralympic Games in Beijing. She is particularly responsible for championing the top class facilities for disabled athletes at the Surrey Sports Park.
Commenting on the line up of ambassadors, Surrey Sports Park Chief Executive, Jason Harborow said, “I am absolutely thrilled with the quality and status of the sporting ambassadors that we have secured. Each of them has a crucial role to play over the coming months as we get closer to opening the Surrey Sports Park. Sport is all about ambition and achievement and along the way sporting icons are created. We are working with some great sporting icons who will I’m sure motivate and inspire people in Surrey to take advantage of the outstanding new sporting facilities through our membership packages which are now on sale.”
The Surrey Sports Park has already been registered as a suitable training venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 but as well as catering for elite athletes it will also provide the best and most up to date sport and facilities for anyone interested in sport and fitness.
For further details of membership packages for Surrey Sports Park, contact the Membership Team on 01483 689112 or visit www.surreysportspark.co.uk.
For further information about the ambassadors, or for a high resolution image, please contact:
M: 07788 672282 / t: 01483 209850
M: 07769 906293 / t: 01483 209814
Notes to Editors
About the Surrey Sports Park Ambassadors
Alec Stewart, OBE
Alec Stewart, former England Cricket Captain, enjoyed a successful 14 year international career, making 133 Test match appearances and 170 ODI appearances. He was also a firm fixture in the Surrey team for over 20 years from 1981.
Gail Emms, MBE
Gail is one of the UK’s most successful – and popular - badminton players ever. She will best be remembered for her performance in the final of the Mixed Doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, when she and her partner, Nathan Robertson, took the silver medal. Now retired from the game, Gail divides her time between a variety of television and mentoring roles.
Mark is amongst the most successful British swimmers of all time. Specialising in butterfly and freestyle at 50 metres, he has won 47 major international medals in a remarkable career. Aged 38, he was selected for Team GB to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – his 5th Olympics – and in the process became the oldest member of the Great Britain swimming team ever.
England Netball star Geva still remains the youngest ever player to have competed in the England Senior Team. She was selected for the full England Squad at just 15 years old in 2000 and has since developed in to a world-class netballer and regular in the England starting line up. Geva plays for Surrey Sports Park’s Co-operative Netball Superleague team “Surrey Storm”. The Co-operative Netball Superleague is broadcast on Sky Sports and is the most prestigious netballing competition in Europe.
Vicki is a highly successful Paralympic rower and current World Champion. She took up the sport in 2006 and within a year she won gold in the Legs, Trunks and Arms mixed coxed fours at the 2006 World Rowing Championships where she also set a new world record for the event. Her team won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and gold medals at both The World Cup in Munich and World Championships in Poland the following year.
Allan Wells, MBE
Allan started his career in athletics as a long jumper and triple jumper, not focusing on the sprint events until 1976. In 1980, at the Moscow Olympics he became the first Briton since Harold Abrahams in 1924 to win gold in the Olympic Games 100m. He also took silver in the 200m making him the only British athlete to win two short sprint medals at one Olympics. During the heats, he set a time of 10.11 seconds, a Scottish record that still stands today.
Chad is an American professional basketball player, who has recently signed as the Player-Coach for the 2009-10 British Basketball League season with the Guildford Heat. He signed his first professional contract with the Guildford Heat in 2005 and after a brief spell with Leicester Riders, he returned to the club for the 2008-09 season, before taking on his latest role as Player-Coach.
About Surrey Sports Park
The Surrey Sports Park is due to open in April 2010 and will house some of the most up to date sports facilities in the country. As well as the swimming pool facilities, there will be glass backed squash courts with 2 show courts for 180 spectators, eight outdoor floodlit tennis courts, two new floodlit artificial grass pitches including one 3rd generation, a 120 station health and fitness suite and a 12m high Climbing Centre with unique bouldering facility. The 250 seat Starbucks Coffee House will be the first Starbucks in Europe to be housed within a multi-sports facility.
Not only will the Surrey Sports Park facilitate able bodied sporting excellence, it will also provide first rate facilities and access for disabled athletes and selection as an official training venue for the Paralympic Games in 2012 has emphasised its top rate provision for disability sport. For more information visit www.surreysportspark.co.uk
About The University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 140 companies employing 2,700 staff.
The Sunday Times names Surrey as ‘The University for Jobs' which underlines the University’s growing reputation for providing high quality, relevant degrees.