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Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne wants people to take part in her #26OlympiansChallenge workout during the Covid-19 lockdown to help raise money for Children 1st and SportsAid charities


By Craig Christie

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A BRITISH Olympic swimmer is asking families to get active during the Covid-19 lockdown as part of a national charity effort.

Kari anne payne 2
Kari anne payne 2

Keri-anne Payne, who won silver for Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is hosting her own #26OlympiansChallenge online full body workout to raise funds for Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity and SportsAid.

The 32-year-old open water swimmer is inviting the public to join her and a host of the country’s most famous sports superstars taking part in the challenge on Sunday (April 26).

Keri-anne dreamed up the charity effort with support from 25 other Olympians including Tom Daley, Greg Rutherford and Rebecca Adlington.

Taking place on what would have been the date of the annual London Marathon, #26OlympiansChallenge is linked to the 2.6 Challenge, a new national campaign to encourage people to develop an activity based around the numbers ‘2’ and ‘6’ to support charities that have been hit hard by the postponement of mass sporting events which raise valuable funds through sponsorship.

Each of the Olympians involved has selected an exercise, suitable for all ages and fitness levels which is specifically beneficial for the physical requirements of their sport and a charity that is close to their hearts.

People of all ages are invited to take part, raise their own sponsorship, or to donate £26 or whatever they can on the Olympians’ Justgiving pages.

Keri-anne Payne who competed for Team GB at three Olympic Games, won silver in the 10km open water swim in China 12 years ago.

She was delighted to come up with the idea of #26OlympiansChallenge to raise funds for Children 1st which prevents child abuse and neglect, protects children and families and supports them to recover from harm and for SportsAid which provides financial support, national recognition and personal development opportunities to talented young athletes across Great Britain,

“Family and sport are two of the things that matter most to me, so I’m delighted to be supporting Children 1st who are continuing to do an amazing job at supporting children and families, particularly through this difficult time and SportsAid which encourages young athletes to achieve their sporting ambitions,” she said.

“My family are a huge support, they’ve helped make all my sporting achievements possible. Now that I’m a mum myself, the work that Children 1st does to keep children safe and support their families, means even more. At this time when exercise is so vital to our health and wellbeing and families need more support than ever, I’m proud to shine a light for sport and children through the 2.6 challenge.”

Gary Kernahan, Director of Fundraising at Children 1st said: “We’ve all watched with great pride as our Olympian stars have achieved remarkable things. We are so grateful to Keri-anne Payne for taking on this new challenge and for pulling together this team of Olympians to take on the 2.6 challenge for Children 1st.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting Children 1st and charities all across the country. We hope that Keri-anne’s efforts will inspire children and families to get involved and take on their own 2.6 challenge.”

To take part in the workout please make sure to check Keri-anne’s Instagram account - @Kerianne_Payne - on Sunday at 10a.m.

Keri Anne Payne
Keri Anne Payne

You will also be able to access the #26OlympiansChallenge on Children 1st’s social media channels, SportsAid’s YouTube channel and the other Olympians social media channels from 10am on Sunday. The workout has been pre-recorded which means you can undertake it whenever is convenient next week. It will predominantly focus on bodyweight exercises and covers a wide range of sports such as athletics, cycling, boxing, swimming, diving, skeleton, canoeing, sailing, taekwondo and judo.

Remember to donate to Keri-anne’s Justgiving page or set up your own sponsorship to support Children 1st and SportsAid at this important time.

The 26 Olympians taking part in the challenge are: Keri-anne Payne (swimming), Tom Daley (diving), Greg Rutherford (athletics), Becky Adlington (swimming), Lutelo Mohammed (Taekwando), Gemma Gibbons & Euan Burton (Judo), Mark Robertson (Rugby 7s), Jen McIntosh (Shooting), Grace Reid (Diving), Alex Gregory (Rowing) Angela Hannah (Canoeing), Hannah Macleod (Hockey), David Carry (Swimming), Amy Williams (Skeleton), Jess Eddie (Rowing), Fran Leighton (Waterpolo), Bryony Page (Trampolining), Luke Patience (Sailing), Tessa Sanderson & Densign White (Javelin & Judo), Claire Rafferty (Football), Susannah Townsend (Hockey), Pete Reed (Rowing), Gail Emms (badminton), Jamie Cooke (Modern Pentalthlon), Anthony Agogo (Boxing), Colin Flemming (Tennis).


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