Nearly 120 talented young athletes based in South Oxfordshire or Vale of White Horse will benefit from a fund worth over £60,000 – thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL. The athletes will be supported through the ground breaking GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK.
The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines. With a staggering 89% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 73% of recipients being aged under 21, the Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing and National and international levels.
Graeme Thomas supported GB rower with his sights set on Tokyo 2020, said, “This will be my third successive year being supported by GLL Sport Foundation award and I cannot thank them enough for your continued support. In the past 2 years I have had both hips operated on and this has meant regular pool time to maintain my aerobic fitness. With the GLL award I was able to regularly and easily use my local pool. The GLL award also helped me to update my equipment in this case it was the new ‘skinny’ oars, and this year I will be upgrading my stroke meter to the new GPS type which I hope will positively impact my training. I am no stranger to making comebacks from setbacks and hopefully in a years time I can be confirming year one of a four year plan was a success with the help of GLL Sport Foundation.”
Alan Sinclair supported Rio Olympian finishing in an encouraging 4th Place, said, “I plan to continue training following my 4th place at Rio towards Tokyo. I would love to win an Olympic gold medal, but what really drives me is my desire to reach my full potential. I very much hope I can inspire other kids, who like me, did not meet the parameters for fast-tracking or World Class start and give them belief that if they enjoy and do their best at the level they currently compete at, there is no limit to how much they can achieve. The award will be used to support my travel costs to and from training centres and to aid my food/recovery costs.”
GSF Patron and former Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell explained the core role the GSF takes in supporting the next generation of athletes and thus ensuring a sporting legacy is in place for future generation: “It is vitally important that we inspire young people to excel in sport and harness their talent towards future success.
From starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I know that support through your development years is crucial. I am delighted that through this programme I am able to champion such support for future sporting talent”.
Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making: “Congratulations to all of the athletes receiving awards. We know first hand the commitment, effort and sacrifices they are making to perform at their best.
I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for their support for the programme. SportsAid, SportsAid Wales and Mary Peters Trust provide the direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways, whilst our many corporate sponsors headlined by GLL and Technogym, numerous local authorities, university and physiotherapy partners directly contribute to support these sporting dreams to become a reality”.
Since its launch in 2007, the GSF has provided over 13,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £7.5million across the UK.
The Rio Olympics and Paralympics were a historic successes for Team GB, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 20 medals won between them.
Supported athletes receive Award packages that include financial grants of up to £1,250, free training memberships enabling access across 300 GLL and partner operated sporting venues along with access to sports science, medical support and employment opportunities all focussed towards supporting their athlete journey.