The British Elite Athletes Association is delighted to announce Michael Gunning and Robyn Love as new ambassadors, and to confirm the renewal of six existing ambassadors’ contracts.
Michael joins in the new role of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador and Robyn becomes LGBTQ+ Ambassador as the BEAA continues to strengthen its support for athletes of all communities.
The pair are both highly accomplished athletes within their respective disciplines, as well as prominent campaigners for equality and diversity in sport, and we are delighted to welcome them to the organisation. You can find out more about them both below.
We are also pleased to renew the contracts of six existing ambassadors, with Will Bayley MBE, Joe Choong MBE, Hannah Cockroft OBE, Alice Dearing, Laura Deas and Nekoda Smythe-Davis again committing themselves to the role after providing invaluable support in 2022.
Michael Gunning is a Jamaican-British swimmer best known for participating in the 200m butterfly. He has worked extensively to raise awareness of ethnic and sexual diversity within sport and beyond, winning a Pride Award in 2019 and being nominated for both British LGBTQ+ Sports Personality of the Year and the Rainbow Honours Award for Celebrity LGBTQI Champion of the Year in 2023. He has featured on a range of TV shows, hosted at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and been a cover star for Attitude Magazine among other accomplishments.
His role will comprise strengthening the BEAA’s existing ED&I work, and furthering our ability to engage and support athletes of all backgrounds. Commenting on his new role, Michael said: “I’m so passionate about ED&I and making people feel valued and mattered, especially in sport. We have an opportunity with the BEAA to put athletes at the top; I want to be part of that progression and to be at the root of it where I can help.
“To have representation, to look at somebody and see amazing sportsmen and women talking about their sport, handing down their knowledge, would have meant so much to me [growing up]. It’s something I didn’t really have. I’m excited to step into that role and be that for someone else.”
Robyn Love is a double Paralympian wheelchair basketball player and professional wheelchair tennis player who is part of the Board of Directors for Basketball Scotland. As captain of the GB wheelchair basketball team, she and partner Laurie Williams are prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ athlete community, and Robyn has worked with Athlete Ally, Pride in Tennis and Pride House Birmingham among others, appearing across the media and bringing a wealth of first-hand knowledge to the BEAA.
As the LGBTQ+ Ambassador, she will work to engage the LGBTQ+ athlete community and represent the BEAA in this space publicly. She said: “The BEAA is really that support system. We’re there to advocate, support and ultimately represent athletes. The BEAA play such an important role in athlete wellbeing and welfare, and LGBT athletes having that specific role I really do think will help us to reach people who’ve maybe not reached out before.
“I’ve got a child on the way and it’s important for me that they grow up in a world where they can be themselves. If I can have an impact on that in any small way, to be a role model to them as well as to our sporting community, I hope they’d be proud of that.”
BEAA CEO Anna Watkins added: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Michael and Robyn to their roles with the BEAA, and of course to extend our thanks to those existing ambassadors who are continuing their support.
“As we continue to enhance our services for elite sportspeople of all ethnicities, sexualities, genders and physical capabilities, we were keen to be represented by athletes with exceptional insights and a track record in increasing inclusion across the sporting community and beyond. Michael and Robyn are both brilliantly equipped to reinforce the message that as an elite athlete the BEAA is with you, whoever you are.”Access our services >