NINE young sports stars from South Derbyshire have been handed a slice of a £30,000 bursary fund through Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON.
Swimmers Lewis White, Elle Pryce and Christopher Steeples, netballers Tamikah Campbell and Brittany-Tyler Coleman, rugby union player Will Allman, tenpin bowler Katrina Maciver, boxer Zach Parker and archer Thomas Taylor will each receive a bursary of up to £300 to help them meet training costs such as travel, equipment, coaching fees or competition costs.
This is the sixth year that these awards have been made and the standard of the performers has never been higher.
Many of the selected athletes are competing for England or Great Britain and those that are not are part of recognised national development squads or club academy structures.
ICON was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games in Derbyshire, and is now being backed by Derbyshire Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport and Rory Slater, Derbyshire’s former 2012 legacy co-ordinator.
Davenport and Slater have both been appointed by Derbyshire Sport to encourage more links between business and sport in Derbyshire.
Davenport, who retired from swimming after competing at the 2012 Games, his third Olympics, said: “I’m really excited to be involved with ICON, which is supporting some of Derbyshire’s most promising athletes.
“Each of them has the same dreams and goals that I had – to get to the top of their sport and be the best that they can be – and the backing which ICON offers can really make a difference.
“Training and competing as an elite athlete can be really expensive, and also sometimes quite solitary, which is why ICON is a great scheme as it not only offers financial support but also a sense that local people are supporting you, following your progress and willing you to do well.”
Slater said: “There was fantastic enthusiasm for the 2012 Games in Derbyshire and it was particularly nice to be able to cheer on local athletes such as Ross Davenport, cyclist Annie Last and wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson.
“With the support of ICON hopefully we will see many more local athletes competing on the world stage.
“There is a lot of work happening across the county and city to encourage more people to get active to improve their health, help more young people take up sport and support those with talent to reach their full potential, and ICON is a fantastic first step for businesses to get involved in this and make a real difference locally.”
Councillor Carol Hart, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “We are extremely thankful to all the members of ICON for supporting local talent, as without their help it would not be possible to award these bursaries.
“Derbyshire has a great wealth of sporting talent in a wide range of sports, and it is important that this talent is identified and supported.
“Those that have received a bursary have told us that the financial assistance really does help, and that the recognition the scheme gives is also a great confidence boost.”
To find out more about ICON, or to become a member, contact Slater on 07885 885720.