Boccia star, Fay Hart, believes her inclusion in an innovative Aldi-funded athlete support programme can revolutionise her Paralympic ambitions writes Tum Balogun.
The Oxted ace, 32, is a member of the retailer’s Rising Stars initiative, which supports 20 young athletes by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs, while also delivering personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions.
The programme allowed Hart to attend a unique Taste Kitchen workshop at Aldi’s Atherstone HQ, providing her with valuable insight into fuelling an athlete’s body for training and competing, as well as top tips for recipes, batch cooking and eating on the go.
The Surrey star revealed her excitement at being recognised for support and opened up on what the additional funding has enabled her to do.
That’s 4 months in a row and still going strong 💪🏼 https://t.co/PuvnG7EPpm
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) October 6, 2022
“I was absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “When you’re with an organisation that’s so well-known, it really helps with being able to manage and sustain your sport. Because sometimes without support, it's really hard to keep up with what's expected of you financially and physically.
"Aldi has such great resources, as well, which is really helpful. They’ve provided me with a financial grant, which I’m really grateful for and then obviously done various work throughout like the nutrition one we’ve had today.
"I must admit, that’s been really good because even though there has been an element of sitting and listening, it has been really practical. I think that made it even more worthwhile.”
The Rising Stars athletes will receive financial support through Aldi, as well as a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Aldi have a top 10 shopping list of affordable, healthy items recommended by nutritionists, Nigel Mitchell and Jenny Tschiesche – both of whom attended the event to help Hart develop a better understanding of nutritious foods key for training, skills for cooking and how to maximise her monthly Aldi vouchers.
Hart, who began her love affair with boccia after seeking a hobby when away for university, learned that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, with Tschiesche and Mitchell taking her and her fellow athletes through multiple recipes throughout the day.
Mitchell, a Team GB nutritionist with three decades’ worth of experience working with athletes to create bespoke nutritional plans which aid their level of performance, added: “I believe in feeding people real food. Supermarkets like Aldi really provide an affordable opportunity for the consumer to look at getting excellent quality food at a much more affordable price.
"I think that is so important in today's age, where people are much more price aware, but are also really wanting the quality of foods that they really need to get the range and in depth of nutrients.”
Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024