Paralympian Ali Smith has been appointed as Treasurer to the Board of Trustees for the charity created to change young lives through the power of athletics.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games silver medallist joins a passionate team that is made up of Chair Mark Lawrie, Chief Executive of StreetGames and Vice Chair Michelle Carney, former CEO of Special Olympics Great Britain. Also on the board are Sir Lawrence Clarke, Olympian and Managing Director at US-based hedge fund multi manager, Tunji Akintokun MBE, Head of Marketing Solutions UK and Ireland at LinkedIn, Jane Stewart, Director of Mint Decisions and World of Work Project CIC and finally Chris Jones CEO of England Athletics.
“As a current athlete, I can see that although so many positive steps are taken to be inclusive, more can be done. And I’m excited to be involved with the Personal Best Foundation to help make changes happen and support the Foundation in the best way I can,” says Ali.
Ali perfectly encompasses all what the Foundation is about as she has overcome a set of testing barriers to become both a successful student and business owner as well as a medallist at the highest level – the Paralympics. The former national-level showjumper started running at a competitive level in 2016 after being diagnosed with MS and losing the ability to walk. Since then, she’s achieved incredible success both on the track and in the world of business as owner of MB Cyclery all while she is studying for her CIMA exams. In addition, she also worked as a management accountant for Treloar Trust, a charity which provides education for disabled children and young adults.
Her athletics journey began when she was diagnosed with MS and her doctors told Ali that exercise would help with her mobility in the future. It seemed natural for her to turn to the track to experience the positive influences that choice would have to offer. And that decision quickly produced amazing results, more than she admits she could even dream of! In just her fourth ever 400, for instance, she won silver at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin before going on to represent GB at the World Champs in Dubai a year later. And then in 2021 she formed part of the silver medal winning team at the Tokyo Olympics in the 4 x 100m Universal relay in a European record of 47.50.
“As a para-athlete, I came into the sport feeling rather lost in life. Athletics has given me a purpose and structure again, as well as opening so many doors to opportunities I could have only dreamed of. I firmly believe in the power of athletics being able to change the course of a person’s life in a positive way. It is a sport that should be accessible for everyone from a young age.
“My health and future are why I started this journey in athletics and this is still my biggest motivation.”
Chair of Trustees, Mark Lawrie added;
“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Ali onto the Board of Trustees. Not only has Ali got the skills and experience that we were seeking for the role as Treasurer, but she brings a first-hand understanding of the benefits that athletics can have on young lives.”