SportsAid is the only national charity of its kind - helping young British sportsmen and women aspiring to be the country's next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and world champions. Every year SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes - the vast majority aged 12-18 - by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs. The charity also helps develop other vital skills for professional athletes, such as media training, nutritional advice and performance lifestyle guidance. Kate has been patron of the charity since 2013.
Almost two-thirds of the British team at London 2012 were former – and in some cases current – recipients of SportsAid’s support, winning 20 Olympic and 27 Paralympic gold medals between them. Alumni include Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Ben Ainslie and Paula Radcliffe MBE. The organisation celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2016. Kensington Palace said: "Most young athletes also rely heavily on their parents and guardians, who are often the ‘team behind the team’, providing financial, logistical and practical support. SportsAid runs sessions for both athletes and their family members, allowing parents and guardians from across sporting disciplines to meet each other, share their stories and experiences, and benefit from the guidance that the charity can provide."
Kate was in sporting form and participating in a number of track and field activities.
On the starting blocks with Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Earlier, Kate viewed the application Jessica Ennis-Hill submitted to SportsAid as an eager teenager. She wrote her long term ambition was to "compete in the championships". Jessica certainly fulfilled that dream. As a competitor in heptathlon, she is the 2012 Olympic champion, a three-time world champion, and the 2010 European champion. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to athletics. Now retired, she supports a number of charities and has become a sought after columnist.
The Duchess is taken aback as she reads the application Jessica Ennis-Hill submitted to SportsAid as a 15-year-old. The form was written by Jessica and she informed the charity that her long-term ambition was to 'compete in major championships'. She did a bit more than that! pic.twitter.com/hQV55cQOIq— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) February 26, 2020
The Telegraph reports:
'Known as a keen sportswoman, she won praise for her technique from the athletes after asking to have a second go at coming out of the blocks and beginning to run down the track.
“I think she did really, really well,” Ennis-Hill, 34, one of the heroines of London 2012, said after coming out of retirement to show off her technique.
“I felt really nervous. I hadn’t been in a pair of blocks for years.” Tokyo Paralympics hopeful Oyinbo-Coker, 18, agreed. “Not bad for a rookie,” he said, after admitting: “I didn’t want anyone to see her beat me.”
His coach, Coral Nourrice, gave the future Queen some tips on pushing off from her more powerful foot, her right, to improve the start. “I think she enjoyed it. You could see by her face. She wasn’t fazed by it at all,” she said.'
The Duchess packs a punch during a training session :)
SportsAid shared this video: "Taekwondo, judo and laser shooting - which features in modern pentathlon - are all on display here today. The Duchess is watching the sports in action and has just been given a short tutorial by Lutalo Muhammad on how to complete a reverse punch!" Olympic medalist Lutalo Muhammed said Kate's "punch had power" and offered to give her future lessons.
Taekwondo, judo and laser shooting - which features in modern pentathlon - are all on display here at the @LondonStadium. The Duchess is watching the sports in action and has just been given a short tutorial by Lutalo Muhammad on how to complete a reverse punch! pic.twitter.com/GRqD6hsbDy— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) February 26, 2020
The Duchess spent time with parents and guardians of SportsAid athletes, past and present, to hear about their experiences, the challenges that they face, and about the impact of the support they receive from the charity.
Today's visit comes just months before Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games get underway with athletes and alumni preparing vigorously.
During a speech the Duchess praised the role of parents and caregivers in supporting young athletes:
'Thank you so much. It’s been fascinating to speak to so many of you here today and also to hear, just now, about some of the experiences you all have, as young athletes and as parents.
SportsAid are a shining example of how organisations can reach out and listen to families, and provide the best support possible to enable their children to flourish The crucial role that parents and caregivers play in our children’s lives cannot be underestimated.
For all of you here, you go, and have gone, above and beyond the call of duty; you’ve committed your time and devotion to nurturing your children’s exceptional talents. And as a parent, I have a huge admiration for you and I know just how complex and time-consuming your role is.
You are simultaneously the transport and logistics managers, nutritionists, laundry service, psychologists, financiers, and crucially, the ones that provide love, support and encouragement when things are tough.
You may not always feel appreciated, or sometimes even noticed on the sidelines, in the car park or sitting high in the stands. But I am so proud that SportsAid recognises how key your role is and that they understand the challenges and worries you face.
On behalf of SportsAid, I'd like to thank all the parents and guardians who have played, or are playing, their part in developing this country’s young sporting talent.
Finally, I know this is an incredibly exciting but daunting time for many of SportsAid’s young athletes, so I’d like to wish the best of luck to all those aiming to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year. We’ll all be cheering you on. Thank you for having me.'
A very nice wrap up video with footage of Kate's speech.
The Duchess selected a navy and green casual look for the engagement.
Kate arrived wearing her trusty Smythe Duchess blazer. The staple piece has taken Kate from her very first tour to Canada in 2011 to today's SportsAid event. The one button wool blazer is available in multiple colours at Saks Fifth Avenue retailing for $695.
Middleton Maven identified Kate's green top as the Mango Ribbed Knit Sweater. It's currently discounted from $40 to just $20 on the Mango website.
The eagle-eyed Liz from Kate's Closet identified Kate's green culottes as a ZARA style. The £29 high-waist, wide-leg trousers feature invisible zip fastening at the side.
Kate's trainers are the Marks & Spencer Ribbon Detail Lace Up style (with thanks to emg collins). They are described as: "Striped ribbon trims with a dash of sparkle give these clean-cut trainers a personality boost. This lace-up pair is made with our Insolia Flex® technology, endorsed by the UK College of Podiatrists for comfortable walking. Made from vegan-friendly materials." They are available for £29.50.
The Duchess accessorised with her Monica Vinader Siren wire earrings.
And her Daniella Draper G, C & L personalised necklace.