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West Midlands

The Athlete Mentors available in the West 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.

Daniel Caines

Daniel CainesDaniel is one of Great Britain’s top runners over 400m. Now retired, he enjoyed a highly successful career in which he was World, Commonwealth, European and Europa Cup Champion in the 400m and 4x400m relay, representing his country at two Olympic Games. A remarkable achievement considering he was once confined to a wheelchair by sporting injuries. Daniel’s breakthrough came in 1998 when he won a bronze medal at the Indoor Championships and subsequently was selected for the World Junior Championships relay squad. A year later he improved his 400m performance to win silver, but he then found himself hampered by severe injury. His determination saw him return to the track with a personal best and then a victory at the 2000 AAA Indoor Championships, leading to selection for his senior international debut.

Sporting Achievements
  • Olympian
  • World Indoor 400m Champion
Gilly Mara

Gilly MaraGilly first got into canoeing at her local sports centre aged 15, she was a quiet and reserved girl on white water she grew in confidence and came to love the adrenalin. Her first national competition came at 17 and she was selected for her first international at 20, where she made rapid progress. However a serious spinal injury to her neck meant she never got to take part and led to a crucial turning point.

It could have been a sad ending to her career but, in fact, the friends she had made in the sport helped her regain her self-belief and she came back fighting. Three years later at 23 she competed internationally at last, going on to reach the podium at 30. Since then Gilly has raced and medalled nationally in multiple disciplines within paddle sport and has achieved one of the fastest recorded women’s times for the Devizes to Westminster International Race (125 miles non-stop). She still competes nationally and successfully balances her training with management of the injury to her neck.

Sporting Achievements
  • European Champion
  • Dragonboat Gold & Silver Medallist
  • Winner of Ultra Endurance Canoeing Race
Mel Clarke

Mel ClarkeMel is a hugely successful international archer. She discovered archery whilst looking for outdoor activities for her Girl Guides group. She undertook a beginner’s course and quickly progressed. Just 18 months later, Mel was shooting at county level and was spotted by the head of the GB Paralympic team. In 2003, Mel became the first disabled archer in Europe to represent her country on the able–bodied team, but, a few days into the tournament she was struck down with Lyme disease. Mel was left fighting for her life, subsequently suffering from paraplegia and loss of sight in one eye. Doctors told her she would never compete again and, with blindness in the eye that Mel aimed with, her career appeared to be over.

Mel was determined to continue shooting and worked tirelessly with her trainer to recover. She developed a new approach to archery, tilting her head over in order to be able to aim correctly. Perseverance, hard work and tears followed but Mel’s ‘never give up’ approach saw her winning the Para World Championships just two years later. During her distinguished career, Mel has won Club, County, Regional, National, European and World Championships and holds many World Records. In 2008 Mel represented GB at the Paralympic Games, where she won a bronze medal, and equalled the Paralympic record in her discipline. At London 2012, Mel finished one better, adding a silver medal to her collection. 

Sporting Achievements
  • Paralympic Silver & Bronze Medallist
  • Multiple World Record Holder
Nathan Douglas

Nathan DouglasNathan began athletics at the age of 7 and he credits the sport with keeping him focused and out of trouble in life. He graduated from Loughborough University at the age of 21 and qualified for his first senior major championship, the Athens Olympic Games, in the same year. He continued to put in the hard work and was rewarded when he produced a monstrous leap of 17.64m. This was enough to move him up the world rankings to third place, whilst also being the third longest jump of all time by a Team GB athlete. Nathan started the next season brightly but found himself struggling and exhausted. He was secretly battling the symptoms of M.E. Impressively, he still managed to pull out a big enough jump to scrape through to the final at the European Championships and went on to win a silver showing true grit and determination.

At the European Indoor Championships, Nathan beat his indoor personal best, winning the European silver medal and taking him to second in the world rankings. But his season was cut short when he suffered a serious hamstring rupture and he missed the World Championships as a result. Having worked hard to rehabilitate himself from this career-threatening setback, he still managed a return to form and qualified for his second Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. He continued to struggle with setbacks because of his hamstring injury until 2011 and just as he was managing to get back into great shape, a training box collapsed underneath him and he ruptured 3 ligaments in his ankle the year before the 2012 Olympics. Once again he battled back from a career-threatening injury, qualifying and competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and went onto compete in Rio 2016.

Sporting Achievement
  • Double Olympian
  • Double European Medallist
  • National Champion & Record Holder
Rich Parker

Rich ParkerRich began skating at the age of 10 and it quickly developed into more than an occasional hobby. He began skating at every possible opportunity and was particularly drawn to a discipline known as the vert halfpipe. Unfortunately the closest vert was 50-miles away from his home, which forced him to learn how to be extremely disciplined and focused. After working his way up through local and national amateur competitions Rich picked up his first sponsor at the age of 16 and qualified onto the professional circuit 1 year later. Since 2004 Rich has competed regularly on the pro-tour which has taken him all over the world. He continues to compete professionally and works closely with leading skate manufactures to help develop new products.

Sporting Achievements
  • Double European Champion
  • X-Games Silver Medallist
Tom Davis

Tom DavisTom was an energetic child, which his mother used to help him experience a wide variety of sports. Although he enjoyed physical activity, a number of issues meant Tom couldn’t participate in his chosen sport of Judo during his teenage years. Aged 17, he was inspired by the high achievers at his local judo club to return to the sport and strive for black belt status.

A year later, Tom achieved his goal and was selected to represent Great Britain. Moving his training up a gear, he improved greatly and overhauled his fitness routine to move weight category, from 100kg to 81kg. At his new weight Tom went from strength to strength, winning both the Commonwealth and British Judo Championships in 2005. Despite being in contention for both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, Tom missed out on the competition spot and was named as reserve for both events.

Sporting Achievements
  • Commonwealth & British Champion