Jack plans to make waves in new role as VX ambassador

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Ripon Olympian Jack Laugher is diving into a new role- as official ambassador of growing sport VX.

The Team GB diver, who competed at London 2012, first discovered the sport at Ripon Grammar School, which is the VX National Centre of Excellence.

VX – originally called rock-it ball – is a fast and furious gladiatorial sport with the aim of scoring points by hitting your opponent with a low impact tennis ball.

It is particularity beneficial in developing hand-eye co-ordination, speed, power, strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Director of Sport for Ripon Schools, and 2012 Harrogate and District Sport Volunteer Oscar winner Helen Mackenzie introduced Laugher to the sport.

Helen said: “This is fantastic news for the VX community. Jack is a wonderful young man.

“Not only has he already achieved so much but he is going to go even further and he is a terrific role model.

“We are absolutely delighted to have him in our corner – and a bonus is that he is a Yorkshire Olympian helping a young sport that was born in Yorkshire.”

Laugher, who won two gold medals at the Junior World Championships in 2012, said he was honoured to take on the role of ambassador.

He said: “I’ve known Miss Mac for a long time and have seen via her the impact that VX has had, so I was honoured when she asked me if I’d like to be involved.

“This is an incredibly exciting sport and I’m looking forward to helping spread the word about it. We have lots of ideas.”

VX was developed in North Yorkshire in 2005. There are now 13 VX governing bodies worldwide.

Meantime, Ripon VX coach Tom Hildreth was nominated in the Sportsperson of the Year category at the Hambleton District Council Sports Awards.

He was nominated partly for his work as coach of Ripon Vanquish, one of the fastest improving clubs in the UK.

The main part of his nomination stems from his regard as the best player in the world.

He is the England captain and in 2012, Tom won the V2 (singles) World Cup and in this year’s World Cup, he battled his way to the final for the third year in a row.

He became the first player to retain the title.

He was named runner-up at the awards.

Tom said he felt honoured simply to be nominated.

Paralympian gold medallist Stephen Miller, team captain at London 2012 Paralympics delivered a speech at the awards, and handed Tom his trophy.

North Yorkshire Sport’s Executive Director David Watson compered the ceremony.

Do you play VX? Contact the Sportdesk. Tweet @AckrillSport or email ackrill.sport@ypn.co.uk