Budding Tennis ace Grace Dixon with Raval chef

Member Article

Local curry fans help Olympic hopeful

CURRY lovers are helping a promising sports star in her bid for Olympic glory … simply by tucking in to their favourite dishes

For funds to support teenage tennis ace Grace Dixon will be raised throughout the London 2012 Games by diners at a top restaurant in the North East of England.

Those ordering meals created especially for the event ­– laced with genuine gold and silver – will see 20% of the price go towards the 16-year-old, who has already been ranked as high as 13thin Europe.

Raval Luxury Indian Restaurant in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, chose Grace as its benefactor after she was identified by the charity SportsAid as a rising star who has her sights set on competing for Britain at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

The restaurant, located next to Newcastle’s iconic Tyne Bridge, has pledged a minimum of £500. However, it hopes to raise much more than the target amount and, in addition to contributing 20% from customers’ bills, it has set up a special Just Giving page allowing anyone to make a contribution.

Grace is currently combining a gruelling training schedule – practising around 20-hours a week – with her GCSE studies at Newcastle’s Church High School.

A SportsAid award would help the teenager and her family with the costs associated with competing in tennis tournaments, especially foreign travel.

She said: “The funding will make a big difference to me. This season I’m aiming to compete in top level competitions at home and abroad and the support will help me and my family to cope with the costs. In the future I hope to be a top 50 Women’s Tour player and to represent GB at a future Olympics would be the icing on the cake!”

SportsAid’s Regional Development Manager, Rob Clarke, said: “It’s great to team up with Raval in such an innovative way. The awards SportsAid make to emerging athletes provide practical support when it’s needed the most and this funding will give Grace a timely boost on her journey. Critically, as well, all the money raised locally will support local rising stars like Grace.”

Raval’s chefs have created a selection of dishes, including a choice of starters and mains using edible gold and silver, and bronze-themed desserts.

Manager, Avi Malik, said: “We are very excited about the coming games and feel sure our customers are too, which is why we wanted to do something to support one of the region’s potential stars of the future.”

Mr Malki added: “As well as being totally unique, all of these dishes are healthy and low in fat. So not only is it an Olympic-themed menu, it is fit for Olympians too.

“We’re hoping lots of customers get into the spirit of the games by ordering these one-off dishes, because 20% of what they pay will go to SportsAid in the north.

“We’re also tapping into our customer database and contacts on social networking sites and asking them to support our appeal.”

You can make a donation to the SportsAid fun for Grace at www.justgiving.com/ravalrestaurant

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Andrew Fenwick .

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