East Midlands

The Athlete Mentors available in the East Midlands region.

We are delighted to offer the expertise of these elite and inspirational Athlete Mentors who each bring years of experience that will benefit your pupils.

Anthony Clark

Anthony retired from international badminton in 2011, having excelled at the highest level and is now an Ambassador for Badminton England. One of Badminton’s most prolific and respected players gaining over 100 caps for England, winning 7 Commonwealth medals, 2 World Championship medals and representing Great Britain at 2 Olympic Games. It was not a sport Anthony was particularly interested in until his mother entered him into a local tournament at the age of 12. Despite barely knowing the rules or scoring process, Anthony reached the mixed doubles final and was invited to county practice.

His career progressed rapidly and as a result of his dedicated training 6-days a week, Anthony made the England team within 2-years. At 16 he became Junior National Champion and at 23 he won the first, of what was to be a record of nine, successive national senior titles. Despite his success, Anthony’s greatest achievement came aged 14 when he received an award from the Royal Humane Society after saving his mum from drowning. He has been selected as one of 4 coaches in the country to be part of the Elite Coach Programme and is Performance Director for Leicestershire Schools Badminton.

Sporting Achievements
  • Olympian
  • World Championships Silver Medallist
Jade Windley

Jade has won 19 professional tennis titles and has proudly represented Great Britain throughout her career. In 2013, Jade achieved her lifelong dream of competing in the main draw of The Championships, Wimbledon.

Growing up, Jade balanced her school work alongside her tennis training; this developed independence and discipline from a young age. Whilst at school, Jade became British Junior number 1 and won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in India. After having achieved 11 GCSE’s and 3 A Levels, Jade made the decision to become a full-time professional tennis player.

During her professional career, Jade suffered two separate serious injuries; one of which almost ended her chance of playing the sport she loved. However, through hard work, determination and a great team around her, Jade overcame these challenging times and managed to compete amongst the best players in the world at the highest events, including her childhood dream of Wimbledon. Jade is currently enjoying coaching tennis and imparting her knowledge and experience of the game to players of all ages and abilities.

Sporting Achievements
  • 19 professional titles
  • former British number 5
Joanne Jackson

Jo was born in North Yorkshire and attended Richmond Secondary School. She loved swimming and wanted to follow in her sister's footsteps to becoming an Olympian. She found school a huge challenge due to her commitment in pool. Training 10-times a week, getting up at 5am was extremely difficult, especially when she had to travel an hour to the pool twice daily.  Jo  showed the dedication required and managed to pass her exams, achieving the results she was hoping for. She specialised in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle enjoying an illustrious career, competing at 3 Olympic Games.

Jo had much success on the international stage, winning silver, bronze and gold medals in major competitions including the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and European Championships. One of her greatest achievements came in 2008 when she won an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing, going on to break two world records in the 400m freestyle. 2009 was among Jo’s strongest seasons, winning more medals than any other British swimmer at a single World Championships, taking silver in the 400m and 800m freestyle, and bronze in the 4×200m freestyle relay. Jo was forced to retire from the sport after the 2012 Olympic Games because of injury but has since gone on to set up her own swimming academy.

Sporting Achievements
  • Olympic Bronze Medallist
  • World Championships Silver & Bronze Medallist
  • World Record Holder
Maria Bertelli

Maria started playing volleyball at an after school club aged 14. She quickly progressed to represent the school before joining her local club and reaching county level. Maria’s talent was spotted and she was selected to be part of the England junior team. In 1996, unable to break into the England senior team, Maria made the bold decision to change university, enabling her to train at a high level on a daily basis alongside studying for her PE & Sports Science degree. She graduated 3-years later after having made the England senior national team. She played professionally for 2-years and returned to domestic competition where her team went on to become English National League and Cup champions 5-years in a row.

Thinking she had achieved her volleyball ambitions, she went back to her roots, combining volleyball and football with a consultancy career. After playing in the 2006 FA Cup Final for Charlton FC, she left her job and moved to Sheffield to be part of GB Volleyball programme in preparation for London 2012. The following 7-years were a real journey as she and the team overcame many challenges to compete successfully, finishing 9th and going from 69th to 21st in the world rankings. Maria is the most capped female GB indoor volleyball player, with over 10 international caps.

Sporting Achievements
  • Olympian (Indoor Volleyball)
  • European League Double Bronze Medallist (Indoor Volleyball)
  • Multiple National Champion (Indoor Volleyball)
  • FA Cup Silver Medallist (Football)
Sam Ruddock

Sam was born with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that adversely affects his flexibility, coordination and balance, particularly in his legs. Despite this, he still played sports such as basketball, rugby and American football whilst studying for his degree in International Relations. Sam didn’t consider disability sport until December 2011, when he was spotted by an coach and asked if he had considered sprinting.

He started full-time training in March 2012, ran his first races in April and was classified by the International Paralympic Committee as a T35 in May. By June, he had a World Ranking of 8th and in July was selected to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the T35 100m/200m. During Spring 2014, Sam made the transition from the start-line to the throwing circle, with his eyes set on making the 2016 Paralympics in the shot put. After finishing fifth at the IPC European Championships in his first major, he went on to secure a sixth place finish at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Sporting Achievements
  • Double Paralympian
  • British Record Holder