Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

County Council Supports Hampshire's Budding Sports Stars

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Hampshire County Council has helped more of Hampshire's budding young sports stars in their quest to be the best in their chosen sport.

The Council awards grants each year to help talented youngsters realise their sporting potential, allowing future sports stars to participate at a representative level in their sport by assisting with travel and accommodation expenses and extra coaching, which can be expensive.

Since 2001, the County Council has been encouraging more people to apply for support which has so far helped young people compete in sports such as gymnastics, badminton tennis, martial arts, swimming, trampolining and ice skating.

Over the last twelve years more than 300 awards have been made to help young people achieve their dreams of competing at national or international levels - among them, Beijing Olympic gymnast Rebecca Wing from Farnborough and 2012 Paralympian Boccia player David Smith.

Over 20 individual sports are covered by this support with recipients achieving international honours in athletics, badminton, biathlon, boccia, cross country, dressage, figure skating, gymnastics, kayaking, modern pentathlon, netball, sailing, shooting, skiing, swimming, taekwondo, tchoukball, trampolining and triathlon.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry said: "We launched our Olympic Legacy Programme for Hampshire this summer and as this develops, it's important that we continue to encourage all children to take part in sport and live a healthy lifestyle.

"Some young people will have a natural ability and talent and we need to ensure that if they choose to develop their skills, they are given the opportunity to do so. Taking part in sport at competitive level whether regional, national or international, can be expensive and could be a barrier to a youngster realising their full sporting potential. This financial year we have around £17,500 available to help, and in the summer, we awarded around £4,000 to support a number of Hampshire athletes towards reaching their sporting goals for the future. We look forward to hearing of their progress in fields which include equestrianism, basketball, biathlon and modern pentathlon, tennis and swimming."

Among those to benefit in the latest round of support are brother and sister Biathle stars, 15 year old Bradley and 13 year old Jessica Sutton from Basingstoke. The pair competes in Biathle, Biathlon, Triathlon, Tetrathlon, and Bradley now full Pentathlon. Jessica competes in her first full Modern Pentathlon in Yorkshire in October. Bradley competes at national and international level and is the current Biathlon World Tour Champion in his age group. He hopes to progress into the World Class (Olympic) programme in Modern Pentathlon this year and is also the Biathle GB Series Champion this year. His sister Jessica is the current World Tour Champion for her age group.

Bradley said: "It's great to get some support from Hampshire County Council, I know this helps with getting me the best training and travelling to the competitions. I completed my first National Pentathlon this year and with swimming, show jumping, fencing, running and shooting I realised how much kit and preparation is required for a busy day of competition so finishing 5th was fantastic, thank you Hampshire."

Jessica added:"Thank you for the support from Hampshire County Council as I continue to train hard on all the five disciplines. Getting the World Biathle Tour Title was great, I will be chasing hard for this again next year. I am also looking forward to my first full Pentathlon soon."

Information on how to apply is available in most sports clubs and from the County Council Children's Services Department. Application forms are available at all schools or can be requested.

To be eligible for a grant, the applicant must be of school age and be involved in competitive sport above district level with the attitude and ability to progress.

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