Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Six of the best as Leeds sportswomen eye medal glory

**************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ****************

What: Leeds City Council-trained Commonwealth Games divers and swimmer plus their coaches available for photos, interviews and to see them train
When: 4pm on Friday 17th September
Where: The Aquatics Centre, John Charles Centre for Sport, off Middleton Grove, LS11 5DJ

*****************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY****************

Picture caption: (top) Alicia Blagg courtesy of and (above) Anne Bochmann courtesy of Wells Sports Foundation.

It will be a case of girl power in India next month as six sportswomen from Leeds have been chosen to appear at the Commonwealth Games.

Among those chosen to represent their countries at the Games which take place in Delhi from October 4th-13th are five divers and one swimmer from Leeds.

The all-conquering women’s squad from the City of Leeds Diving Club are sending a record number of divers to the Games, including the youngest athlete in any sport to be representing England in 13-year-old Alicia Blagg.

The rising star from Woodlesford, who has just returned from America where she finished fourth in the Junior World Championships, will be hoping to become one of England’s youngest-ever medallists if she can perform well in the three events she has qualified for.

Clubmate Rebecca Gallantree will be keen to continue her excellent form this year which has seen her compete regularly at world level, while Sarah Barrow will be looking to continue her comeback after a year out with a major back injury by performing well.

Leeds also has two members of the Scotland diving squad for the Games, as identical twins Helen and Carol Galashan will be competing individually and also teaming up in the 10-metre synchronised category. A measure of how easily they have taken to diving can be seen by the fact that four years ago they competed at the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia as gymnasts.

For the first time since the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, Leeds also has a swimmer qualified to compete at a major international event. Anne Bochemann, who moved to Leeds last year so she could continue to be trained by long-term coach Dave Calleja, has qualified to represent England in the 200m Individual Medley. The 17-year-old, who is originally from Norwich, goes into the event with good prospects as she is the top-ranked English swimmer in her event.

The divers and Anne, who all compete under the City of Leeds banner, are trained through Leeds City Council’s training schemes based at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

The divers are coached by Olympic diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans, while the swimmers are trained by Anne’s coach Dave Calleja who took up the post of head coach in Leeds in December 2008.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“It is a fantastic reflection on the talent and dedication of our divers and their coaches coupled with a wonderful facility like the Aquatics Centre that we have more divers than ever before qualified for the Commonwealth Games from Leeds.

“It is also great to see that Anne is our first swimmer since 2004 to make it to a major event and her decision to move a long way to Leeds shows just how strong we are now in terms of developing world-class sportsmen and women. We wish them all the very best of luck in India and look forward to seeing them perform to the best of their abilities.”

For further information on Leeds City Council’s diving and swimming training schemes, contact swimming development officer Andrew Learmonth on 0113 395 7358.


For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email:

Elderly care delegation swaps land of the rising sun for Leeds

It’s a far cry from the bustling Tokyo metropolis, but the Japanese have been learning a thing or two about caring for older people … in Armley.

West North West Homes Leeds’ Phil May Court and Cross Grasmere Sheltered Schemes in Armley played host to visitors from Tokyo’s Nihon University in Japan.

They were escorted around various projects for the elderly by Armley Helping Hands, a support network for elderly people in Armley and Wortley and Leeds Adult Social Care.

Staff and residents spoke to the delegates, led by social care expert Professor Kido, about their experiences of adult social care and sheltered living in Leeds.

Professor Kido has previously worked closely with Adult Social Care Leeds and Armley Helping Hands to help with his on-going project to analyse good care for the elderly. The delegates are also looking at how to build stronger links between councils and the voluntary community sector.

Professor Kido is looking closely at Leeds’ Older Better Strategy as well as other beneficial projects and schemes for elderly people in Leeds.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“Japanese adult social care and housing provisions for the elderly are very different to ours, with a greater onus placed on the individual to organise their own accommodation and activates, rather than through Sheltered Housing providers and voluntary sector.
“West North West Homes Leeds’ tenants provided valuable feedback to the visiting delegates and we’re honoured that they have come here to see an example of good practice in the way we care for our older people.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937