Introducing Your Local Sports Stars: Meet the Recipients of the Active Lambeth Athletes Programme

About the Active Lambeth Athletes Programme

The Active Lambeth Athletes Programme is delivered and designed by the Sports Development Team.  The aim is to support local gifted athletes by providing them with financial aid and free admission to Active Lambeth leisure centres throughout the borough. The programme seeks to support athletes competing at the County level or above in a sport recognized by Sport England.

Recipients of the Active Lambeth Athletes Programme

This year, we are thrilled to announce that 35 exceptional athletes have been accepted into the programme. From fencing, ice dance and volleyball to Ultimate Frisbee, we have talented athletes from a range of sports.

Each athlete will receive 12 months of access to our Active Lambeth leisure centres, with selected athletes receiving funding of up to £1000 to support their training, equipment, and competition expenses.

Lambeth Council is delighted to support local athletes achieving excellence in their chosen sport. We encourage you to learn more about our Athletes Programme winners by reading their profiles below.

Introducing Your Local Sports Stars

Chung Leung: Ultimate Frisbee

I play ultimate frisbee for the GB masters team and I’m delighted and extremely grateful to be supported by Active Lambeth.

I’m in training for the World Championship in LA next year. The team is looking to take home a medal against strong opponents from around the globe so every workout at an Active Lambeth leisure centre is going to be integral to our on-field success.

Outside of my sport I enjoy hobbies like Warhammer, cycling, and ballet. You might even catch me on TV in the new year taking part in some gladiatorial challenges…

Chung Leung
Leo Tona

Leo Tona: Swimming

Hi, I’m Leo and I am a proud member of the London Fin Swimming Club based at Clapham Leisure Centre.

I am 12 years old and have been swimming competitively for almost 3 years. The pool, squad and my coach are like my second home where I feel safe, strong and a place to escape to. Getting PBs is getting tougher but when I do it’s very rewarding and getting medals is pretty awesome too.

I increased my training this term to 5 sessions a week and thanks to this Active Lambeth Athletes program, I can use the gym to do more dry land training as I need to work on my legs for stronger and faster kicking in the pool.

I’m super excited about achieving County times for a second year this year in more events than last which shows me how much I have improved.

Harvey Chapman-Lennon: Volleyball

My name is Harvey Chapman-Lennon, 18 years of age and grew up in Brixton. Volleyball isn’t a big sport in the UK but is popular everywhere else in the world. It’s a game where you have three touches between your team and on the third touch, you have to get the ball onto the other side and make the other team somehow drop the ball.

Since playing volleyball, I’ve managed to get onto the U19 Juniors National Men’s Volleyball Team for England and experience an athlete level of coaching for my sport.

I guess my goals for myself is to become the best athlete I can be. Additionally, a broader goal for me, is to improve the level of standard volleyball within the UK through coaching.

Harvey Chapman Lennon (4)
Streatham Christmas Ice Show

Atl: Ice Dance

My name is Atl and I do ice dance together with my partner, Ashlie. We have been skating together since 2016 and have been in the Junior category since last year.

We went to Junior Worlds in March this year and came 18th overall, something which we were very proud of.

Ashlie and I train 5 days a week from about 6am to about 10am. This is our training on ice. We also do off ice training which consists of conditioning and off ice training. So, altogether I would say that we train for about 28 hours a week.

Our sport is very challenging and expensive. Unfortunately, at our level, we need to travel abroad for competitions because the UK does not have many opportunities to bring world class athletes to compete here. We are hoping to go to the Junior Olympics in January and after that, in March, we are hoping to compete at Junior Worlds where we would like to place among the first 10.

Our long term goals are to get to the Olympics in 2030 and get Gold and be the best that we can be.

Ashlie Slatter: Ice Dance

Hello my name is Ashlie Slatter I am 14 years old. I’m a junior ice dancer for Great Britain with my partner Atl.

I put my first pair of boots on when I was two and a half and I did my first competition at six in solos and then I started competing with my partner at seven years old we have been together ever since.

We are currently preparing for the British Championships at the beginning of December which is the national competition that happens every year held in Sheffield. We also qualified for junior worlds next year.

My goal is to get to the winter Youth Olympics in 2024 we are waiting to hear wether we qualified. We would also love to get to the senior winter Olympics in ice dance.

Streatham Christmas Ice Show
Sivananda Banerji

Sivananda Banerji: Volleyball

My name is Sivananda Banerji and I’m currently in my second season with the London Giants men’s in the English National Volleyball League.

I’m versatile on the court, playing not only as an Outside Hitter but also as a Middle Blocker. One thing that sets me apart is my ability to jump exceptionally high, which comes in handy in our games.

I’m committed to contributing my best to the team’s success to get to the Super League in National League and essentially play in European Championships representing my club and England.

Andi Maqsudov: Volleyball

My name is Andi Maqsudov and I’m currently in my second season with the London Giants men’s in the English National Volleyball League, the highest competition in the country.

I take on the role of Outside Attacker for the team. I’m actively involved in the National English Volleyball League and in Premiership in the London Volleyball League. I’m striving to reach the Super League with my team and so play in Europe in the upcoming seasons representing England.

Andi Maqsudov
Nia Ofuyaekpone Shombe

Nia Ofuyaekpone-Shombe: Netball

Hello my name is Nia. I do a lot of different sports that benefit my main ones such as netball, football, gymnastics and cross-country.

When I am older I would love to be a Netball player for England or Grenada…Nigeria too, if they form a team. I believe, if I work hard and earn what I am given, then I can make it to the top.

Lewis Laylee: Middle Distance Running

I am a middle distance runner, competing for Herne Hill Harriers on the track, road and cross country.

My favourite distances are 1500-5000m.

My goal is to continue competing for the club at regional and national competition and improve on our best ever results there.

Personally, I hope to run personal bests on the road and track over the winter and next summer.

Lewis Laylee
Lloyd Hook

Lloyd Hook: Touch Rugby

My name is Lloyd Hook and I am a two-time European champion touch rugby player who plays for England.

I have been involved with either rugby or touch since I was five years old and have been part of England Touch’s high performance set-up since 2021. Career highlights so far are earning my first England cap and then being part of the squad that won back-to-back European titles in 2022 and 2023. In 2023, I led the try scoring list and was England’s player of the tournament in the M45 grade.

Hopefully there’s plenty more to come: England Touch is building towards the 2024 World Cup, which will be staged on home turf in Nottingham.

Touch is a fantastic sport because it’s fast, fun and can be played by both men and women (and boys and girls) on the pitch at the same time. All you need to get started is a ball, a bit of green space, and a few mates. What a game!

Nicole Stelea: Figure Skating

Hi! I am Nicole Stelea, I was born in Romania, but have lived in 4 countries so far. I discovered figure skating when I was 6 with the movie “On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia story” and whilst my mother wanted to give me to figure skating – we did not have good conditions in post-communist Romania.

I eventually started at 17y old in The Netherlands but took a break of 10y as I started working. As COVID hit, not having the option to be able to go to the ice rink is what made me realise how much I missed what I consider to be my passion.

My main goals are to land an Axel and hopefully a double and maybe one day go to Oberstdorf – which is seen as the Worlds Championship for adults, for the experience.

Nicole Stelea
Zico Blake

Zico Blake: Athletics

I started athletics at the age of 8 in 2016 when I joined Herne Hill Harriers and started competing seriously in 2021. I’m now 15 and am currently competing in U17 men.

My events are long jump, 60m, 100m & 200m. I’m nationally ranked in all events, and earlier this year I won a silver medal in long jump at the indoor nationals at Sheffield. I won gold at the Surrey indoor and outdoor championships also in long jump, and a bronze in the 100m.

My goals are to one day compete at the world championships & Olympics and win medals.

Zoe Graham: Netball

As an international netballer our Ireland team took Gold at Europe Netball’s Challenge Cup in Belfast. I am a Sports Scholar at school (netball and cricket are my specialisms) and for the last 3 years I have been coaching netball at Spencer Netball Club, Clapham Netball and this season I am the Assistant Coach at the London Pulse Mercury U15 Hub, engaging and delivering netball sessions to junior players aged 6-15.

Alongside my practical experience, I recently gained my England Netball Level 1 certificate (work to my Level 2 when I am 18, due to England Netball’s minimum age requirements). I have held my Sports Leaders Coaching Award (Levels 1 & Level 2) since I was 12, and these plus my work experience ensure I have a clear understanding of how to plan and prepare the theoretical side of coaching alongside delivering my sessions.

Zoe Graham
Alarna Rae Ewen Lettman

Alarna-Rae Ewen-Lettman: Netball

I am a passionate young athlete with an unwavering dedication to excelling in sports, where I’ve gleaned valuable life lessons such as teamwork and perseverance.

I’m currently an active member of the esteemed Aces Netball Club in Lambeth, consistently securing positions on the U12 & U13 A teams, where I actively compete in the ENG U12 Youth Netball Premier League Southern Conference. Additionally, I take pride in being part of the London Pulse U13 – Orbital hub, and I eagerly look forward to forthcoming competitions where I’m wholeheartedly committed to giving my utmost effort.

Francesca Smith: Triathlon

Francesca is a triathlete, originally from Somerset but now based in Clapham. She has represented the GB Age-Group team a number of times and was both European and British Champion over the Standard distance in 2022. Ending the 2023 season on a high, Francesca was the overall female age group winner at Ironman Portugal 70.3 in October.

Looking ahead, Francesca has a number of exciting races planned for 2024, including the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in New Zealand.

Francesca Smith
Maiya Obrien

Maiya O’Brien: Fencing

I can’t imagine my life without fencing. I am motivated to push myself and test my limits. Fencing has taught me patience and many other life skills. It isn’t only about fitness and health, but also about making friends and broadening my international horizons.

Fencing has helped me with my mental well being and it’s a great thing to be able to focus on. Hopefully I will be able to pass on my knowledge and passion of the sport to others in the future.

One day I hope to go to the world championships and possibly even the Olympics.

Michael Sotillo: Tennis

The sport I play is tennis. I started when I was 6 and haven’t stopped since. I have progressed through the ranks, (red, orange, green, and finally yellow balls) and have been playing competitively in each category.

My goals and aspirations in the sport of tennis is to take my competitiveness to the next level and to make it on tour playing tournaments around the globe. My greatest achievements so far is playing and finishing third in a USTA Champions League Tennis tournament in Miami, Representing team Lambeth in the London Youth Games in Tennis for the last 5 consecutive years, and qualifying in second in a WTA tennis tournament for eligibility to play in Europe.

Michael Sotillo
Sarah Sotillo

Sarah Sotillo: Tennis

My name is Sarah and am 16 the sport I play is tennis I first started to play tennis when I was 5 thanks to my dad who always encouraged me to play tennis. He was me and my brothers first ever tennis coach and I know he will end up reading this so thank you dad for starting of me and Michael’s tennis careers.

My goals and aspirations for the future are to become the best tennis player I could possibly become and win the London tennis youth games alongside my amazing team and are coach Dino.

Peter Ainsley: Tag Rugby

Hello, my name is Peter and I play Tag Rugby for Great Britain.

Tag Rugby is a minimal contact sport played in numerous countries across the globe. It is fast-paced and places a great emphasis on speed, skill, and evasion. It is therefore important to build excellent levels of fast-twitch muscle fibres as well as maintaining a high level of cardiovascular fitness. Access to Lambeth’s Fitness facilities is therefore a great way to prepare for the challenges of the sport.

I recently took part in the Tag Rugby World Cup held in Ireland, narrowly missing out on the bronze medal against New Zealand in a thrilling third-place playoff. It is my goal to improve upon this position and challenge for the Gold at the next competition.

Peter Ainsley
Otto Balaam

Otto Balaam: Triathlon

My name is Otto and I’m 13 years old. I’ve been competing in the sport of triathlon since I was 8 years old, and I train with Crystal Palace Triathletes.

A triathlon consists of three disciplines – swimming, running and cycling – and I train in all of these each week. I also compete in duathlons (running and cycling) and aquathlons (swimming and running).

Competitions take place from March to October and there are a number of races that make up the London Series.

Based on my results last year I was selected to be part of the London team that competed against other UK athletes at the British Triathlon Inter-regional Competition in the north-east of England.

This year I was again selected to be part of the London team in the Inter-regional Duathlon against the East and South-east regions.

I enjoy taking part in a sport that covers three disciplines and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.

Nikki Sturzaker: Athletics

I am a registered Osteopath at Streatham Village Osteopaths, a Mum of three children and have been a keen member of Herne Hill Harriers for the last 12 years.

I have been lucky enough to be selected to represent England twice this year, in August for a 5km race against Wales which I won and again this weekend for an International cross country meet in Glasgow (which I am travelling to now), against Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Last month I became European champion at 800m for W50 and silver medalist at 1500m and 5000m and am the currently British champion at 800m, 1500m and hight jump. I am ranked no 1 in GB rankings for 800m, 1500m, and 1 mile and 2nd in 5000m track and 5km road.

I am passionate about promoting masters athletics, especially in women, to show the younger generations that sport does not have to stop as you get older.

Nikki Sturzaker
Gabriella Tcheukam

Gabriella Tcheukam: Athletics

I am Gabriella Tcheukam. I am a National Level Athlete U17, ranked 2nd in UK for Discus, competing for Croydon Harriers. My main goal is to excel in sprints and throws and compete at the Internationals next year.

Phil Sandwell: Ultimate Frisbee

I compete in the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and have played for my local club team, Deep Space, since 2017.

I captained the team during the 2023 season in which Deep Space won the UK National and European Club Championships – each for the first time in the club’s history. In 2023 for the first time I represented Great Britain at the European Masters Ultimate Championships, reaching the semifinals.

Outside of Ultimate, I work for a United Nations agency and hold a PhD in Physics.

Phil Sandwell
Alice Dinsdale 1

Alice Dinsdale: Swimming / Ultimate Frisbee

My two sports are Ultimate Frisbee and swimming. I compete internationally on the masters stage at both sports.

Ultimate is a fast paced team sport, that involves a team of 7 passing the disc between their players and scoring by catching it in the endzone. Meanwhile another team of 7 is playing defence, aiming to intercept the frisbee or force errors allowing the possession of the disc to change to their team.

I specialise in the masters division which is for women over the age of 30.

Freddie Bialokoz: Beach Volleyball

Hi I am a 23 year old beach volleyball player born and raised in London. Currently playing on the Beach Volleyball World Pro Tour and aiming to be one half of the first British men’s team to qualify for an Olympic Games.

Beach Volleyball is similar in structure to Tennis with more of a tournament-based structure played on beaches around the world. That means I’ve been everywhere from Lithuania to the Maldives to play tournaments but always seem to come back to Lambeth to train and build for the next one. 

Freddie Bialokoz (1)
Milo Darley

Milo Darley: Hockey

I have always played a lot of sport but hockey has been my main focus for several years. I love the physical and mental challenge but also the great team spirit you get in the sport.

I was in the Surrey squad from age 13 -16 and then moved up to the next level in the England pathway. As well as age group hockey for school and for London Wayfarers I have played Men’s league hockey regularly since the age of 13 and am now playing for Wayfarers M2s in London Premier League every Saturday. I also have 2 caps for Wayfarers Mens 1s team that play in the National League.

I am now in year 13 at school and am very focused on going to one of the top hockey universities in the UK to keep developing my game and to play at the highest level I can.

Tecla: Football

My name is Tecla. I play football for Crystal Palace Ladies and I play as a striker. Over the last two seasons I have scored 106 goals meaning that I’ve won the golden boot twice in my league and club. I’ve been playing football for Crystal Palace for eight years and it has been great for me as a sports person as it has helped me improve in my game.

Justin Robinson (1)

Justin Robinson: Basketball

From the Brixton Topcat junior program, under Jimmy Rogers. Came up through the England ranks (u18s and men’s teams)
Spent 7 years in USA playing high school and college ball (Blair academy and Rider university D1 NCAA). Played for team GB starting back in 2009 until 2018. Earning most valuable player two years in a row (2018, 2019).

A level 2 qualified coach for Brixton Topcats, mentor for young kids in the South London area.

Ernest: Swimming

I am Ernest. My main sport is swimming where I have recently competed in English Nationals. I swim for my school and club and earlier this year was chosen to represent London for the ESSA championships. Post Nationals I was chosen as part of the talent pathway. I swim short distance for school but my main distances are middle and long distance. I will be swimming in the County Champs in January/February.

My aims for the next swim year are to break 5minutes for 400IM long course and to qualify for British as well as English National and be back in Sheffield in July/August.

Ernest Darkin
Mahnoor Mirza

Mahnoor Mirz: Judo

I am Mahnoor Mirza and I am currently 14 years old. My sport is Judo, which I’ve been playing since I was eight year old. It’s a martial art, used for self defense and it has really improved my mental and physical health dramatically.

I always try my best when playing Judo and aim for the highest, hoping I can achieve even further goals in judo.

I am on the England Development Squad and my next major aim is to fight for England in the European Youth Olympics.

Oliver Laszlo: Swimming

Oliver Laszlo is the National Ranking Leader in breastroke in his age group.

He trains really hard to reach his dream: to become an Olympic Champion swimmer!

Oliver Laszlo 2
Dino Skeete

Dino Skeete: Tennis

Dino Skeete plays the ITF Masters Tennis Tour. He has been ranked as high as GB number 4, and captains a Kent men’s seniors team in the GB County Cup.

Dino’s main venue is at Hillside Gardens Park in Tulse Hill where he trains players of all ages and plays Kent, and Surrey knockout matches and in the National Club League Championships.