More than 200 people have been given funding or support through the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme (HTAS) for 2014, which has seen its funds doubled thanks to extra funding from Hampshire County Council's Olympic Legacy Programme.
The scheme, a joint programme between Hampshire County Council and Sport Hampshire & IOW, aims to help Hampshire's athletes reach world class podiums.
The County Council's Olympic Legacy programme was launched in July 2013 with the help of Hampshire-based Olympic gold medal cyclist Dani King and has awarded HTAS £92,000 per year for the next three years as an investment in Hampshire's talented athletes. The money helps support local athletes with training, sports science, travel and physiotherapy as well as monetary grants.
2014 will see 220 athletes benefiting from HTAS funding and support to help with the high costs of competing nationally and internationally.
HTAS gives money to over 200 athletes a year and some of Hampshire's most promising athletes have received support in previous years, including Dani King from Hamble, and Olympic bronze medallist hockey star Alex Danson who went to school in Odiham.
Since it started in 2008, almost 550 of Hampshire's most promising sportsmen and women have received funding, with many more benefitting from free access to training facilities.
National and international level athletes can receive a range of benefits, including a monetary grant, free access to leisure centres, fast track physiotherapy, a free bus pass from local bus companies, Stagecoach, Bluestar and First as well as sports science support from Southampton Solent University. Regional and county level performers can also benefit from fast track physiotherapy services.
At a time when costs associated with training and competition are on the increase, the scheme is seen by many current and previous recipients as a much-needed injection of support.
England Under 20 rugby ladies player Devon Holt, Tadley, Basingstoke, said: "Thank you to Sport Hampshire & IOW and Hampshire County Council, this grant will make a huge difference to me and my parents and help me develop my rugby career."
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, said: "Hampshire has a strong sporting heritage, with many exceptional sportsmen and women living in the county. The Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme goes some way to providing much needed support to these committed, talented and determined sportsmen and women. We look forward to watching the progress of our local athletes towards achieving their sporting ambitions."