78 talented young athletes from the Bath and North East Somerset area will benefit from £50,600 of funding, thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL.
The athletes will be supported through the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK, which this year marks its 10th year of supporting upcoming athletes.
The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines.
With 90% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 72% of recipients being aged under 21, the Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing at National and international levels.
Bath-based modern pentathlete Joe Choong is one of the athletes who has has received an award this year.
He said: “GLL support is massive to someone like me who competes in a mulit-discipline sport. With the various sports I do, I often need new equipment, or to drive to different locations to do my training.
“For example, I probably need a new fencing blade every 2 months, and I drive 40 minutes to riding every week, and the support from GLL makes a massive difference in helping to alleviate some of the financial burden.”
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: “Sport is such an important element in our lives whether that be as an athlete; a coach or within the wide network of support, sport can and will continue to deliver so much for us.
“This was seen once again from the euphoria that gripped the Nation during the World Athletics Championships last year.
“It was fantastic to see GLL Sport Foundation supported athletes deliver medal successes and others to break through to the international representative level. It is a core ambition for the Foundation to be successful in supporting both today’s and tomorrow’s athletes.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Development & Neighbourhoods, Councillor Bob Goodman attended and presented some of the awards.
He said: “I have always loved sport and was fortunate to represent Bath and Somerset in football and rugby in my youth. I hope these talented athletes go on to achieve their goals and inspire the local community to become more active more often.”
Since its launch in 2007, the GSF has provided over 16,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £9 million across the UK.
The Gold coast Commonwealth games were historic successes for home nations, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 18 medals won between the 60 athletes that competed.
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.