Young stars get a boost

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A group of 145 rising sports stars from Derbyshire - including 24 from Amber Valley - have shared a bursary fund of £30,000, raised through Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON.

This is the sixth year 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 part of club academy structures.

All are tipped for further success in their sport.

Each of the 145 athletes will receive a bursary of up to £300 to help them meet training costs such as travel, equipment, coaching fees or competition costs.

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 Belper’s Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport and Rory Slater, Derbyshire’s former 2012 legacy co-ordinator.

Ross and Rory have both been appointed by Derbyshire Sport to encourage more links between business and sport in Derbyshire.

Ross 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.”

For a full list of the Amber Valley athletes involved, see below.

The list of athletes includes future Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, and those aiming to compete at future Commonwealth Games.

Cllr 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.”

Track cyclist Rosie Blount, who along with her sister Hannah is among the 145 athletes to receive a bursary, said: “I’m really grateful to have been awarded a bursary. I have to do a lot of travelling in order to train and compete and I also need specialist clothing and equipment, so this support is really appreciated. It’s also nice to know that me and my sister have been recognised locally for our achievements and that people are watching our progress and cheering us on.”

ICON is supported by the following local authorities: Derbyshire County Council, South Derbyshire District Council, North East Derbyshire District Council, Derby City Council, High Peak Borough Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Bolsover District Council, Erewash Borough Council, Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council.

ICON members also include Active Nation, Benz Bavarian Ltd, Brampton Manor, Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, Community Sports Trust, Cooper Parry, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Destination Chesterfield, East Midlands Airport, Flint Bishop LLP, Geldards Genting Club Riverlights, Hampton by Hilton Derby city Centre, Holiday Inn Derby Riverlights, Innes England, International Golf Development, John Felix Films, Johnson Health Tech UK, Lonsdale Swimming and Sports Trust, Manx Engines Derby, Marketing Derby, Morley Hayes, Nuffield Health Derby Hospital, Orchid, Origination, Rolls-Royce, Smith Cooper, Spirit Medical, Technogym UK, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, University of Derby, webdna Ltd and Westfield Shopping Centre.