Dame Katherine Grainger makes her stop at the Brownlee Centre in Leeds


UK Sport Chair, Dame Katherine Grainger continued her nationwide tour of all funded National Governing Bodies by visiting The Brownlee Centre in Leeds on Monday 30 October.

Jess Learmonth, 2017 ETU Triathlon European Champion, was there to meet Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and give her a guided tour of the Centre’s facilities, whilst explaining how the University of Leeds and British Triathlon-funded centre supports her as an athlete and attributed to her success in 2017 on the ITU and ETU circuit.

Dame Katherine Grainger, said: “As the Chair of UK Sport, I want to just make sure that I’m not someone who sits behind the desk the whole time. I want to get out there, meet all the different sports, the athletes, the performance directors, Chief Executives, Chairs - whoever is around - and really find out what’s happening on the ground.”

Above: Dame Katherine Grainger is treated to a tour of the Brownlee Centre gym by Jess Learmonth and Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown, founder and Performance Director of the Leeds Triathlon Centre was also on hand to discuss how the British Triathlon and University training setup benefited from the Centre and how UK Sport funding has impacted performance sport since its introduction in May 1997.

“It has meant that you can have consistent support for athletes who want to develop themselves, full time, through their training and through the other disciplines such a as nutrition – it’s made a huge difference.”

The Brownlee Centre was opened by Olympic medal-winning brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, on  28 April 2017 and has served as a training hub for both performance athletes and those taking their first steps in the sport. It is also the first purpose built triathlon performance centre in the UK, supporting athletes such as Jess on their journey’s to success at the highest level in the sport.

After a late start in triathlon, Jess Learmonth has risen through the ranks, reaching the ITU World Triathlon Series podium twice this year and ranking sixth overall, the highest of any GB female athlete in the World Triathlon Series in 2017, as well as becoming the 2017 ETU Triathlon European Champion. Speaking about how her career has been affected by UK Sport funding, she said: “The biggest thing for me would be the support for Physio, Strength and conditioning and the medical help, which helps maintain your training so you can be consistent, without that it can be difficult and expensive.”

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