Mark Bowman explains why Fieldfisher decided to sponsor paratriathlete Andy Lewis – a move that was vital to fund his Paralympic Gold win | Fieldfisher
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Mark Bowman explains why Fieldfisher decided to sponsor paratriathlete Andy Lewis – a move that was vital to fund his Paralympic Gold win

Mark Bowman
I visited PACE Rehabilitation in Chesham 18 months ago, discussing developments in osseointegration with their prosthetist, Jamie Gillespie. Jamie knew I was interested in triathlon and told me that he was looking after a budding paratriathlete, Andy Lewis. Andy had only taken up triathlon recently but was showing real promise. Unfortunately Andy, like many other amputee athletes, was struggling financially and was in dire need of sponsorship. I was asked if Fieldfisher could help Andy.

I decided to research Andy and Googled him. What I read was remarkable, Andy was inspired by watching the London 2012 Paralympics and decided to take up triathlon in 2014. While Andy was a talented runner as a junior, he had no history in cycling or swimming. By the time I met Andy in the spring of 2015 he was certainly not a world beater, but from a standing start he had made some impressive gains. I decided to meet Andy to find out more.   

Over lunch in April 2015 Andy told me about his past and his plans for the following 18 months. His goal was clear; he wanted a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. He felt his biggest obstacle was financial. He had given up his job in order to train full time. Unlike able-bodied triathletes like the Brownlee brothers, who attract sponsors with ease, Andy was looking for a financial backer so that he could concentrate on the training that he needed to qualify for and compete in Rio. More than anything, I was struck by Andy's emphasis on high-quality performance, something which echoed with me in terms of the work we do at Fieldfisher.

It was an easy decision. A sponsorship agreement was drawn up and signed within days. Andy's results have subsequently been remarkable. In the Rio test in the 2015 event he came third. In 2016 Andy won the European Championships and followed it up with victory in the World Championships. He was unbeaten going into the Paralympics and has now topped of a fantastic year with the historic achievement of winning Gold in the first-ever paratriathlon to appear at the Paralympic Games.

I know that our sponsorship has made a huge difference to Andy and will hopefully help him inspire other amputees to take up sport. Our sponsorship also hopefully demonstrates that at Fieldfisher we care about the amputee community as a whole and that we are keen to show our clients that if they dream big and have ambitions like Andy, they can achieve anything.

This content was first published in the "Step Forward" Magazine Autumn 2016. Special thanks to the following for allowing Fieldfisher to use this content: