Posted on 24/01/2020

Supporting our Paralympic athletes on the road to Tokyo 2020

Supporting our Paralympic athletes on the road to Tokyo 2020

This week we were privileged to meet the wonderful team of nutritionists and performance lifestyle coaches preparing our British Para-athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, giving us the opportunity to donate over £500 worth of equipment to the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Having recently spoken to Emily Hunton, Paralympic Lead for Performance Lifestyle at the English Institute of Sport (EIS), we were thrilled to be asked to attend a special “Kitchen event” hosted at Manchester Metropolitan University. During the event, nutritionists and performance lifestyle coaches were lead by professional chef, Gareth Cole, to help them prepare and cook healthy meals which they could then teach to the Paralympic athletes they work with.

Our role at the session, involved talking to the nutrition and performance professionals about the equipment available for athletes living with a disability, which would make it easier for them to prepare and cook meals. We donated over £500 worth of equipment to the EIS for the event and were happy to see everyone trying out the kitchen aids on the day!

L-R: three members of the English Institute of Sport, our chef Gareth Cole, Terri Paulson and Emily Hunton

The Uccello Easy Pour Kettle and Tipper made a big impression at the kitchen event!

Our equipment donation included 4 Food Workstations - ideal for one-handed chopping or grating

Meeting a real-life Paralympic athlete

Listening to the wonderful stories of how people within the group became a nutritionist or performance lifestyle coach was really inspiring and, in one case, we were surprised to learn that one of the performance lifestyle coaches was actually a Paralympian!

Ben Quilter competed in both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Paralympic Games as a Judo athlete and, very impressively, won bronze at our home games in London.

“I should have won gold, but I snapped the anterior cruciate ligament and medical collateral ligament in my knee just 6 weeks before I was due to compete!”

Ben was diagnosed with Stargardt disease when he was just 12 years old, which means his eyesight has continued to deteriorate as he’s grown older. A genetic, degenerative disease, Ben now has no central vision and is no longer part of the Judo Paralympic team – although he did attend the Rio 2016 Paralympics as a mentor. He now works as a performance lifestyle coach for both the Olympic and Paralympic British Cycling Teams, which is why he attended the kitchen event with his colleagues from EIS.

Ben Quilter (front) and Noah Dembele (right)

Ben’s cooking partner at the kitchen event was 21-year-old Noah Dembele, seen above. Currently studying Ancient History at university in Nottingham, Noah was attending the kitchen event as part of a uni placement, to learn more about performance lifestyle. Noah is also part of the British Olympic Canoeing Team and competes in the Kayak Sprint event. Although he won’t be competing at Tokyo 2020, Noah is working towards the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

Not your average cooking class

As part of the session, the nutritionists and performance lifestyle coaches were given special glasses to wear which simulated different vision impairments. They were encouraged to wear these whilst preparing and cooking their food to discover how those living with a vision impairment might find certain kitchen tasks, such as chopping and measuring, more difficult and how the equipment we donated may make these tasks easier.

Some of the simulated vision impairments included tunnel vision, macular degeneration and total blindness.

Tasting the fruits of our labour

After a couple of hours working hard in the kitchens, we got to taste the fantastic feast prepared for us by the group. From superfood-salads to flatbreads packed with protein, it was easy to see why the chef had picked out these super tasty recipes to help keep our British Paralympic athletes on top of their game!

Checking the recipe for next steps!

Members of EIS try out the Talking Kitchen Scale with Easy to See Measuring Jug

Looking tasty!

We thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this very special kitchen event and would like to say thank you in particular to Emily and Terri, Performance Nutrition Para Project Lead at EIS, for enabling us to donate the equipment which our British Paralympic athletes will have the opportunity to trial and use going forwards.

We wish everyone the best of luck at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020!

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