Lancaster man’s plan to fire Katarina Johnson-Thompson to Olympic gold in Rio

Goldie Sayers, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Barrie Wells at Wavertree Sports Park. Picture: Richard Williams
Goldie Sayers, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Barrie Wells at Wavertree Sports Park. Picture: Richard Williams

A Lancaster sports philanthropist has brought together two British athletics stars in a bid to fire one to Olympic gold.

Barrie Wells has agreed to sponsor UK javelin record holder Goldie Sayers on the condition that she in turn mentors the world’s leading heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson on her road to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The former Premierline boss has financially backed Johnson-Thompson since her 16th birthday and during her successful rise in the heptathlon to be world number one in 2014.

Her weakest disciplines however have always been the throwing events.

Barrie, head of the Wells Sports Foundation, said: “I sat down with Goldie to discuss how I could help her achieve her ambitions in the javelin in the world championships and Olympics and we hatched the plan to offer sponsorship in return for Goldie sharing her throwing expertise with Katarina.

“The pair have already successfully trained twice together at Katarina’s base in Liverpool.

“We will all be hoping this makes a big impact on Kat’s campaign to win the World Championship Heptathlon in Beijing in August as she continues progressing towards Rio in 2016.”

Johnson-Thompson said: “Barrie has very generously supported me since we first met six years ago and continues to be an important influence in my life.

“His extremely imaginative suggestion of funding Goldie to support me is a stroke of genius and I am – once again – in a position to not be able to thank him enough.”

Barrie funded 18 UK athletes in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics but now only works with a handful of athletes, including Johnson-Thompson.

His philanthropic activities are also focussed on the Barrie Wells Trust Box 4 Kids initiative – which gives seriously ill children a VIP experience in 32 stadiums and entertainment arenas across the country.