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A scheme which offers bursaries to promising young athletes in Derbyshire is currently inviting applications for 2013.

Podium awards annual bursaries of up to £300 to local athletes to help them meet training-related costs as they bid to reach the top.

Athletes who compete in any sport recognised by Sport England and live in Derbyshire or compete for a Derbyshire-based club can apply for the cash, which can be used to help meet costs such as travel, coaching or equipment.

To be eligible for funding athletes must already be competing for their country or Great Britain or be part of a recognised development squad or development squad aligned to a professional sports club, and be aged 25 or under on December 31, 2013. There is no age limit for disabled athletes.

Athletes can apply for a bursary from Podium by completing an online form at www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/podium. For athletes aged under 18, application details will need to be confirmed by a parent or guardian.

Applications must be received by Friday, October 19, 2012.

Podium awarded bursaries to 187 athletes for 2012. Athletes who have previously received a bursary from the scheme are eligible to receive further funding for 2013, but must apply again as they will not be put forward automatically.

Podium is backed by Derbyshire business scheme ICON, with money raised from the scheme’s annual membership fee used to support local athletes through Podium.

Cllr Carol Hart, chairman of Derbyshire Sport, said: “There are many young people in Derbyshire who we know are performing at a high level and achieving great things in their chosen sport, and it is important that their hard work is recognised and their talent is identified and supported.

“Training and competing in sport can be very expensive, and those that have previously 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.

“We want to see more people from Derbyshire competing on the international stage, and we hope that Podium can help in achieving this.”

More information and an online application form can be found at www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/podium