Culture Secretary Maria Miller has announced two new UK Sport board members who have been tasked to help the elite sport body build further on the incredible performances of Team GB and Paralympics GB at London 2012. Sarah Springman and Lis Astall will join the board effective immediately.
UK Sport has set the ambitious target for Team GB and Paralympics GB to win more medals at Rio 2016 than was achieved in London. Public funding for elite sport is at a record high with over £355 million being invested in the four years to Rio – a 13 per cent increase on London 2012.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: “Both Sarah and Lis will be real assets to the UK Sport board and bring a wealth of experience with them. Sarah’s past as an elite athlete and Lis’ experience in helping support young athletes and in sport sponsorship will prove valuable in the years ahead. I am sure they will both make great contributions as we look to keep the medals rolling in for Britain in the run up to and at Rio 2016.”
UK Sport Chair, Rod Carr, said: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah Springman and Lis Astall to the UK Sport board.
“They bring with them a wealth of experience as we focus on finalising preparations for Sochi 2014 and build momentum towards Rio 2016, while striving to build a stronger more sustainable high performance system to benefit the UK for years to come.”
Sarah Springman has been involved in elite sport for more than 30 years, competing for Great Britain in Triathlon and Rowing. She went on to serve as Chair of the British Triathlon Federation and has been Vice President of the International Triathlon Union from 1992-1996 and since 2008. She was also a founding board member of UK Sport (and the Lottery Panel) from 1997-2001.
A Professor of geotechnical engineering at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sarah Springman was made a CBE in 2012 for services to Triathlon.
Professor Sarah Springman said: “It is an honour to be appointed to the UK Sport Board once again. UK Sport had the vision to lobby Government in 1997 for Lottery funding to support elite performance, which has changed the face of British Olympic and Paralympic sport. The organisation has led from the front since then and I hope my recent experience with British Triathlon and in international sport can help play a part in building on this success.
“I am particularly looking forward to working across the domestic landscape to share best practice among National Governing Bodies, as they support their athletes to bring back the medals from Rio.”
Lis Astall has 27 years business experience with Accenture, a management consulting, technology service and outsourcing company, including the roles of UK Managing Director across all private and public sector work and Managing Director of Public Service in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Lis was President of the British Show-Jumping Association for four years leading up to London 2012 and was a sponsor of the British Showjumping young rider squad between 1999-2010 - with two of those she supported going on to feature in the gold medal winning team at London 2012.
During her time at Accenture she also led the team that supported the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid as a Premier Partner.
Lis Astall said: ““I am delighted to be joining UK Sport at a time when it is seeking to build on the incredible success of London 2012 and is now focussed on eclipsing that medal haul at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I have been passionate about sport for many years and my experience with Showjumping has demonstrated just how important it is to have a robust long term strategy to deliver sustained success.
“I also believe there are opportunities for sports and commercial sponsors to work more closely to ensure they both get the best possible outcome from the relationship.”
The appointments build on the Culture Secretary’s focus on raising the profile of women and sport, part of which aims to increase the representation of women on sport governing bodies boards. UK Sport’s board is now forty per cent female. As part of their work on good governance Sport England and UK Sport are urging sport national governing bodies, which are in receipt of public funding, to have boards that are at least 25 per cent female by 2017.
The two new board members begin their three year terms immediately with a time commitment of two days per month.