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'BACKING THE BEST'
Wednesday June 28, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Snowsport England athletes receive Olympic and World Cup-standard advice to help equip them with new skills.

The new programme offers expert advice and guiding to young athletes aiming high. 

Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi and Team GB canoe slalom legend Richard Hounslow were involved in the workshop run by SportsAid for Sport England in May.

SportsAid aims to support athletes that would otherwise have difficulty progressing in the sport and moving up through the system if they did not have the financial aid offered.

Rebecca, Maggie and Richard were all recipients of SportsAid support at the beginning of their careers.

Backing the Best welcomes the class of 2017:




The top athletes offered their experience to young skiers Bradley Fry and Thea Fenwick, and snowboarder Scott Walsh.

The workshop that took place in Nottingham gave advice on performance lifestyle management, nutritional intake and dealing with the media.

There were also sessions for the parents of the athletes, with Rebecca Adlington's mum, Kay, speaking.

In 2016, 70 athletes received support, producing world, European and national age-group level champions.

In the scheme's second term, 95 up-and-coming athletes are benefiting.

COMMENTS:

Rebecca Adlington

These workshops are about absorbing everything around you - almost like being a bit of a sponge.

When you're getting into those teenage years, that's when you're coming into your own as an athlete, so it's about taking on lots of advice and opinions, but figuring out what works for you.


Thea Fenwick

I still get the thrill from competing and always want to better myself


There are a few people who have influenced my skiing quite a lot, like McRae Williams, who is number one in the world - he's an amazing skier.

I want to get to the 2022 Olympics. That would be my main goal.


Bradley Fry

Funding is really important for me, I wouldn't be able to carry on without SportsAid, and we can use it to pay for my lift pass which enables me to ski more.

Being in the Olympics would mean the world to me, I'd love to be there.

If I keep on going then I could make the 2022 Olympic Games.

My sporting hero is James Woods, he shows a lot of style when he is skiing and he really inspires me.

I've met him before and he told me to be cool and to carry on doing skiing as much as possible.

It would mean a lot to me because I love to ski. It's going to be really fun to watch PyeongChang and to inspire me to watch more.


Bradley Fry11-year-old skier, Bradley Fry
























Skier Thea FenwickSkier Thea Fenwick
























  • Many of those supported in 2016 have progressed to Athlete Performance Award funding with UK Sport
  • Athletes have to demonstrate outstanding ability, as well as taking into account the family's financial situation, to gain funding
  • Athletes from 32 sorting disciplines benefit from the scheme this year
  • 41 of the original 70 have been renominated to continue with Backing The Best

Sport England's Director of Sport, Phil Smith

In an ideal world, talent and effort alone would determine who gets to the top in sport.

The reality is, being a talented athlete can be expensive.

In the talent system, athletes and their families now have to find an average of over £6,000 a year.
 

This is out of the reach of many, and puts others at risk of dropping out, and not fulfilling their potential.

Thanks to National Lottery players, we've been able to help another 94 young athletes through Backing The Best so we can take some of those financial barriers away.

We want these potential stars of the future to be able to concentrate on what matters most, their sport.


Chief Executive of SportsAid, Tim Lawler

There will always be a next generation of young talented athletes looking for the opportunity to prove themselves and reach their potential.

For some, difficult financial challenges mean they have to give genuine consideration as to whether they can continue to pursue their sport or not.


Backing The Best has already made its mark by relieving some of that financial pressure and helping a range of young athletes towards achieving their goals.

For us, Backing The Best is quite simply a game changer.



Scott Walsh in actionScott Walsh in action

























The National Lottery funds the scheme with £5.5 million over a four-year period.

'Backing The Best' presents annual awards of £5,000 per athlete.

It is to help with costs such as travel, accommodation, kit, nutrition and medical bills, as well as extra support from coaches.

Watch here for what the programme is all about:





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