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Paris 2024: Olympic and Paralympic athletes line up post-Games community ChangeMakers projects

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Olympic weightlifting silver medallist Emily Campbell says it is “so important to be more than just an athlete – to remember where you came from, and to give back”.

The 29-year-old is part of a new initiative that will help members of Team GB and Para GB to support good causes in their local communities once they return from this summer’s Paris Games.

The ChangeMakers programme will match athletes to social impact projects in a two-week window immediately after the Olympics and Paralympics.

And Campbell – the first British woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal – says she wants to encourage her team-mates to use the platform of the Games “to talk about the topics that mean a lot to them”.

“As a nation we focus so much on the winning and medals, but there’s actually a big, holistic message around the Olympics,” she told BBC Sport.

“It’s about unity and the whole world coming together and if we can take that message into our communities, that two weeks after is the perfect window.”

The ChangeMakers initiative is a partnership between Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Allwyn, the new operator of the National Lottery, which since 1997 has funded elite performance agency UK Sport.

Athletes can choose the project they wish to support, from grassroots sport and mental health initiatives, to environmental programmes.

UK Sport says 86% of funded athletes want to use their platform “to make a difference to society” while they are still competing, and that 66% of UK adults believe athletes have a role to play in championing causes they believe in.

“This is something really close to my heart, and will be a really nice way to finish what’s hopefully going to be a fantastic Games”, said Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Campbell, who is close to qualifying for her second Olympics in Paris.

“We will be able to give back to the communities that we are from, like mine in Nottingham.

“As athletes we put our heart and soul into representing our nation to make everyone proud, but we’re people too, each with our own passions outside of sport. I know most athletes don’t want people to think we’re just machines that just turn out medals. We are humans that grew up in a community.

“I want to use my voice to empower more children and young females specifically, to be strong, healthy and confident by having positive conversations about body image and tackling outdated opinions around female appearance and health.

“With social media there’s an underlying pressure for people to look a certain way and we’re all unique for a reason. And that comes in all different shapes and sizes, and ethnicities, and that should be celebrated. People that don’t want to do that should be challenged, and that’s what I’m on the road to do.”

Campbell – who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 – says to top the podium in Paris would be “incredible”.

“Everyone wants to upgrade, but it’s a tough field,” she said.

“I’ve just got to work and get myself in the best possible shape I can, and if I get rewarded with a bit of bling I’ll be over the moon.”

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”

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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang

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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.

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