A team of four Darlington athletes, Joanne Tonkin, Samuel Joblin, Steven Gordon, and Simon Trenholm have been able to represent England and succeed in international games with the support of their local Specsavers store.

Specsavers Darlington sponsored TU NOVA, a group of four local kettlebell lifters who all qualified to represent England at the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting Championships in Seoul, South Korea, in November.

Kettlebell lifting is relatively unknown in the world of weightlifting, and while it is gaining in popularity, receives no funding.

Saving the day

Specsavers Darlington stepped in to help fund the four athletes travel to the South Korean capital, where they placed 13 out of 40 nations taking part.

Joanne also took part in the first ever female double long cycle event while Simon won bronze and silver medals.

Steven Gordon said: 'It was an absolutely fantastic experience. We stayed in the Seoul Olympic Village, which was really exciting and we met athletes from many different nations and experienced lots of different cultures.

'We are entirely self-funded so none of this would have been possible without the help of people like Specsavers who helped with the cost of flights and accommodation. We are extremely grateful.'

A word from our store director

Gery Learmont, store director said: 'We are really pleased with the sterling performance of TU NOVA in Seoul – they did Darlington and England proud.

'When we learned they were raising funds to pay for their trip we were only too happy to help. It’s very important to support sport at all levels, particularly in those fields that don’t necessarily attract so much publicity.'

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