British Paralympian David Weir CBE and his long-time coach, Jenny Archer MBE, were met with cheers as the Kingsmeadow Fitness and Athletic Centre was officially renamed the Weir Archer Athletics and Fitness Centre.
Joined by the Mayor of Kingston, Cllr Julie Pickering, and James, the Mayor’s Consort, the inspirational local duo unveiled a dedicated plaque which will sit at the entrance of the council-run centre.
Educated in Kingston, David Weir spent much of his time at the athletics and fitness centre where Jenny saw David’s potential and convinced him to compete at a national and international level. In 2013, they set up the Weir Archer Academy to support and coach future wheelchair racing stars.
Six-time gold-winning Paralympian and seven-time winner of the London Marathon, David Weir, said: “I’m honoured to have the centre re-named Weir Archer. I’m so proud of all that Jenny and I have achieved – the academy is in its fourth year and we couldn’t imagine having our academy anywhere else but at Kingsmeadow.”
Jenny Archer MBE added: “Our academy wouldn’t be what it is today without our Weir Archer athletes, their families and our dedicated supporters. We’ve already broken a Guinness World Record this year and there’s more to come. Watch this space!”
Cllr Julie Pickering, Mayor of Kingston, said: “What a brilliant celebration of local talent. We wanted to honour Weir Archer’s outstanding achievements in wheelchair racing and we thought renaming the athletics and fitness centre at their Kingsmeadow homeground was a fitting tribute.
“We’re campaigning for Kingston to be the London Borough of Culture and I can think of no greater example of why our Royal Borough deserves the title than the work of the Weir Archer Academy. A true grassroots team with fantastic values and a huge sense of community – congratulations and I look forward to seeing the academy go from strength to strength.”
The news follows a £500,000 investment in the centre’s treasured eight-lane athletics track earlier in the year, which was funded by Kingston Council.
The council’s four leisure centres, including the Weir Archer Athletics and Fitness Centre, are run by Places for People Leisure. The wider site will continue to be called Kingsmeadow, with just the athletics and fitness centre changing its name.
For more information on staying healthy and active in Kingston, visit www.kingston.gov.uk/sports