Olympic star Tessa quits Newham Council sports role

Former Olympic gold medallist Tessa Sanderson is to quit her role as director of the Newham Sports Academy.

The javelin champion, 54, will leave her post with the council-funded body when her contract expires on Thursday.

Speaking to the Recorder, she said she was unable to comment on the reasons for the move until her departure is finalised.

But it comes as council chiefs look to cut their funding for the academy, which she helped found four years ago.

Since then, the body has helped develop around 70 potential Olympic and Paralympians for next year’s Games.

Tessa said she would be now be concentrating on preparations for next month’s Newham Classic 10k run.

She will also continue helping budding sports stars develop through her own Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy.

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“What I can say is that there is no future with Newham Council for me,” she said.

“My contract with them is finishing and I will be focussing on my work with my foundation.

“But I will be staying in Newham and doing the things I set out to do.

“I am embedded in Newham, I love the Newham people and I will continue to serve them.”

A Newham Council spokesman said: “Tessa has done a fantastic job delivering the Newham Sports Academy programme over the last four years.

“It’s work is the result of the highest investment by any local authority in supporting young sporting talent.”

He added: “There will be no dilution in our efforts to help young people in the run up to 2012 and beyond.

“However, central government funding cuts mean that the council is reviewing the ways in which it delivers services.

“The intention behind the academy was always that the council would move from a position of direct delivery to asking our partners to provide proposals for supporting the academy’s aims.

“We look forward to proceeding on that basis as we remain committed to supporting our talented youngsters.”