Hampshire’s brightest and best young athletes have been awarded funding by Hampshire County Council to help them on their journey to future Olympic and Paralympic glory.
The 2017 cohort of the Hampshire Talented Athletes Scheme (HTAS) includes 181 sportsmen and women from across the county, who aim to follow in the footsteps of some of the scheme’s former athletes – including gold medal winners at the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “The Talented Athlete Scheme is a real success story and has helped put Hampshire on the sporting map. We were all inspired by the record medal haul of GB athletes at Rio, including five HTAS athletes who won eight medals.
“We know from speaking to the sportsmen and women how much of a difference the scheme made to their sporting careers, particularly when they were young and support from national sporting bodies was not always available. We’re delighted to support the next generation of talented athletes, including many aiming for glory at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.”
HTAS is funded by the County Council and administered by the independent charity Energise Me. All 181 athletes will have access to free training at leisure centres and free bus travel, whilst 105 of the athletes will receive grant funding worth a total of £35,200 for competition and travel costs. A further £10,800 will fund fast track physiotherapy, sport science workshops and attendance by athletes at school assemblies, to inspire the next generation and encourage children to be more active.
Richard Millard, chairman of the Energise Me board of trustees, added: “We are very proud of the athletes on the scheme, especially for being fantastic role models and sharing their journeys to sporting excellence with local primary schools – to encourage and inspire Hampshire’s schoolchildren to take part in physical activity and sport, and to strive to reach their goals.”