Bursary boost for Amber Valley sports talent

Bursaries totalling £24,600 have been awarded to 142 Derbyshire athletes, thanks to Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON.

Each of the athletes - including 30 from across Amber Valley - are either competing internationally, have won a national championship medal, or are part of a recognised national development squad within their sport, and will receive a bursary of up to £250 to help them meet training costs such as travel, equipment, coaching fees or competition costs.

Athletes will also be offered free access to gyms run by their local authority.

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

Despite competing at such a high level, most of the athletes receive no other financial support and often spend thousands of pounds each year on things such as travel, accommodation, clothing, equipment and coaching, in order to compete.

Among the supported athletes is 16-year-old Gracie Martin, from Alfreton, of the GB Junior Climbing Team.

She said: “Being selected to be an ICON athlete for 2014 will really help me, as travelling to the international competitions is very expensive, therefore any support I receive is much appreciated.”

The other Amber Valley athletes on the list are: Hollie Smith (Archery), Struan Caughey (Archery), Jessica Turner (Athletics), Niamh Emerson (Athletics), Naomi Reid (Athletics), Grace King (Badminton), James Shaw (Cycling), Isabelle Boon (Cycling), Madeleine Cusack (Football), Greg Townley (Gymnastics), Joseph Sharp (Hockey), Daniel Darby (Hockey), Alice Sharp (Hockey), Kathryn Lane (Hockey), Anna-Frances Toman (Hockey), Charlie Young (Judo), Jake Allen (Karate), Jayne Stallion (Life Saving), Adam Threlfall (Life Saving), Isobel Beighton (Netball), Cherese Naylor (Netball), Ross Montgomery (Paddlesport), Harvey Martin (Sailing), Matthew Cross (Swimming), Joshua Horobin (Swimming), Hannah Jones (Swimming), Benjamin Goodall (Swimming), Molly Renshaw (Swimming), Matthew Webster (Table Tennis).

ICON was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting London 2012 Games legacy and encourage more links between business and sport.

Cllr Paul Smith, chairman of Derbyshire Sport, said: “We are extremely grateful to all 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. Training and competing as an elite athlete can be really expensive, and also sometimes quite solitary, so I know that those receiving a bursary really do value it, and that the recognition the scheme gives also provides a great confidence boost and a sense that local people are supporting them.

ICON is supported by a number of local authorities including Amber Valley Borough Council, plus Amber Valley School Sport Partnership and a wide range of Derbyshire businesses.