Two-time Olympic champion Pendleton: Britain's fast girls can follow in Kenny's footsteps at Paris 2024

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Pendleton, 41, was speaking after presenting Edinburgh hero Chris Sellar with a National Lottery Award for overcoming grief and loss to run 280km for mental health charities
Pendleton, 41, was speaking after presenting Edinburgh hero Chris Sellar with a National Lottery Award for overcoming grief and loss to run 280km for mental health charities

Victoria Pendleton is backing British Cycling’s fast girls to emulate Jason Kenny and inspire the next generation of talent at Paris 2024.

The two-time Olympic champion, who sped to sprint and keirin glory in Beijing and London, watched Sophie Capewell, Blaine Ridge-Davis, Milly Tanner and Lauren Bate bag team sprint bronze at the World Championships in France on Wednesday.

Kenny captured hearts by becoming Britain’s most decorated ever Olympian in Tokyo and Pendleton, who also scooped silver in London, believes the youthful quartet can follow in his star-studded sprint footsteps.

The 41-year-old, who was speaking after presenting Edinburgh hero Chris Sellar with a National Lottery Sport Hero Award Award for running 280km for mental health charities, said: “I think the new young sprint girls coming through will definitely be ones to watch in Paris.

“I'm really excited to see what they're going to do and what's going to happen.

“The endurance side of the sport has been very well-supported for a long time, but it's nice to see some sprinters coming through.

“It would be nice to see them become as successful as the men's team, like Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny have done in Tokyo. That's the ultimate goal.

“It's brilliant to see more girls taking up the sport, particularly on the sprinting side.”

Carlin, 24, captured team sprint silver and individual bronze in Tokyo while evergreen Kenny, 33, sped to a scintillating keirin crown at the Izu Velodrome.

The seven-time Olympic champion caught the rest of the field napping and hit the accelerator in thrilling style to take one step deeper into the pantheon of greatness.

Pendleton, a nine-time world champion, helped lay the foundations for British Cycling’s unforgettable era and soared to keirin glory on the London boards at the storied Games of 2012.

Team GB won seven track cycling medals at Tokyo 2020 but with a clearer Paris end goal in sight, Pendleton insists they can go even faster in the French capital.

Sellar, 30, decided to run 10km over 28 days – the equivalent of six and a half marathons – to promote mental wellbeing after losing his mum to suicide in January 2020 just months after his father had died from cancer
Sellar, 30, decided to run 10km over 28 days – the equivalent of six and a half marathons – to promote mental wellbeing after losing his mum to suicide in January 2020 just months after his father had died from cancer

She added: “The team did well but I think in Paris, they will be stronger and more determined, but also more resilient.

“I think most people were just pleased to be able to do what they've been training to do because training with an unknown goal is a really tough thing to do.

“I think that the British team did fantastically well given the circumstances, across all sports. But in a year where there's no interruptions, or postponements, they would have done even better.

“It took a lot to keep that focus on training through such uncertain times – but they will all be stronger, better, athletes as a consequence. Those kind of challenges that make you stronger.”

For more information about projects funded by The National Lottery and The National Lottery Awards visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and follow the campaign on Twitter: @LottoGoodCauses #NLAwards

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