Newham’s Williams-Stewart knows she must get fitter to achieve Olympic dream
PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 June 2019
© Nick Webster 2018
Newham fencing prodigy Teagan Williams–Stewart knows she needs to get fitter to continue on the ultimate path towards Olympic stardom.
The 16-year-old hit national headlines two years ago, emerging from an atypical background to be ranked number one in the country at under-17 level aged just 14.
The Newham Swords star has forged forward, securing under-17 World Cup silver in Rome in January before defending her British title, beating Chloe Dickson in the final.
"One of my teachers told me to go along to a fencing class at school - I loved it and I haven't looked back since," said the Kensington Park School pupil.
"After that I joined Newham Swords fencing club. I have loved training there since I joined, even though at the beginning I was rubbish!
"I eventually improved and my love for the sport progressed from there.
"My end goal is to go to the Olympics, but in the short term, I really want to make the junior team for the European and World Championships taking place next year.
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"Before then, I need to work on my stamina and my fitness to improve even more at a higher level."
Her cause is also being helped by SportsAid and the Backing The Best programme, which offers critical financial help to talented young athletes who would otherwise face difficulties progressing through their sport's system.
Backed by £5.5 million of National Lottery funding, Backing The Best presents annual awards of £5,000 per athlete to help with essential costs such as travel, accommodation, kit, nutrition and medical bills.
Williams-Stewart was one of dozens of SportsAid athletes who attended workshops at The London Stadium, offering media training, nutrition advice, performance lifestyle guidance and support for parents.
The youngsters from all over the country were joined by sports stars Maggie Alphonsi, John McAvoy and Jake Wightman, with the latter offering his support for the SportsAid programme.
"When you're young the funding opportunities are pretty slim, so to know that there are people out there that will help you fulfil the potential that you feel like you have when not a lot of others are doing that is pretty vital," he said.
"I hope they've gained a lot from us athletes being here, because it wasn't that long ago that we were in that position. Every single one of them has got a good platform to go for success.
"Being a part of something like this, they're already a pretty good way along the path of being successful athletes. I hope they can come away believing that can happen thanks to Backing The Best."
*Backing The Best is helping talented young athletes facing the greatest financial pressure to pursue their sporting ambitions. The programme, managed by SportsAid for Sport England, is supported by National Lottery funding. Visit sportengland.org/our-work/talent/backing-the-best to find out more.
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