Olympic legend tweets support for young martial artists up for award

This Is Wiltshire: Daley Thompson during his visit to the group Daley Thompson during his visit to the group

A double Olympic gold medallist is backing a Chippenham martial arts class to win a national award.

Daley Thompson visited Ninja Tots, a group for youngsters aged two to 11, last August with fellow sporting star Sharron Davies.

Ninja Tots made a lasting impression on Mr Thompson and he has now voted for them to win best children’s activity provider in Tommy’s Baby-friendly Awards.

He tweeted: “I love ninja tots and happy to vote for them. X”

Company director and founder Victoria Foote was delighted and returned his tweet: “Thanks Daley, all the Ninjas send their love, as do the Sisters in charge! x”

Antonia Sarnago-Orchard, Ninja Tots instructor at Chippenham, said: “Every time I think about Daley’s visit it brings back such wonderful memories.

“It was so amazing to meet my sporting hero. It means a lot that he remembered us.”

Mr Thompson won the decathlon gold medal at the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games, and broke the world record for the event four times.

Ninja Tots, which has classes at Abbeyfield School and Kington Langley Village Hall, was nominated for the award by parents.

Mrs Sarnago-Orchard said: “This is our first award nomination and it would mean so much to win. We’re asking people to get behind a truly local family-run business.”

For the past 18 months she has run six classes in Chippenham with the help of her mum, with students including her son and niece.

Mrs Sarnago-Orchard’s sister and brother-in-law are also black belts and teach the classes in Lawn in Swindon, Stroud and Cirencester.

She said: “Out of all six providers we are by far the smallest. We are competing against huge national companies.”

For every vote cast, sponsors Bounty – a parenting club – donates £1 to Tommy’s baby charity, raising money into research on stillbirths and miscarriages.

The winners will be awarded at a ceremony in London on March 22. Voting closes on February 17. To vote, visit online at http://www.bounty.com/tommys-awards2013 n Ninja Tots is looking to recruit instructors. Email chippenham@ninjatots.co.uk or call 07920 724437.

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