THREE Ashbourne athletes have earned a slice of a fund totalling £24,600 thanks to Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON.
Each of the 142 Derbyshire sports stars 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.
The local athletes, who will also be offered free access to gyms run by their local authority, are roller sports star Luke Campbell-Lyons, rugby union player Oliver Fewtrell and tennis prodigy Victoria Allen (pictured).
Campbell-Lyons, 17, is a member of Ashbourne Speed Skating Club who finished second in the 200m time trial, the five-kilometre race and the 10-kilometre at the British Outdoor Championship.
Fewtrell, 19, is a member of Derby Rugby Club who competed for England Under-18 Clubs and Schools in international matches against Ireland Under-18s and Bedford Blues Academy.
He was also part of the Midlands Under-18 team which became divisional champions, and the NLD (Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire) Under-18 team.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Allen represented Great Britain three times during the 2013 season, and competed in the Girls Under-12 singles and doubles at the Four Nations International.
She also competed at the Tennis Europe Under-12 Nations Challenge Summer Cup and was runner-up in an Everyball International Junior Tournament.
Councillor Paul Smith, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: “We are extremely grateful 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. 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.
“This is the seventh year that these awards have been made, and demand for this support has grown year on year, giving our bursary panel some very tough decisions to make. We are very keen to be able to provide more support for these athletes, and to support more athletes, and in order to do so would encourage more local businesses to consider becoming an ICON member.”
The full list, which can be found at www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/icon, 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.
Hayley Lever, Director of Derbyshire Sport, said: “There was great enthusiasm for the 2012 Games in Derbyshire and it was fantastic to see local athletes such as cyclist Annie Last and wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson competing for Great Britain on the world stage. With the support of ICON we look forward to seeing more Derbyshire athletes following in their footsteps.
“There is a lot of work happening across the county and city to encourage more people to get active and support those with talent, and we are looking for new businesses to work with and become members of ICON. Contributions can be financial, or in kind, such as discounted memberships or sports kit - large or small - we are keen to work with businesses to determine the role that they can play and would welcome initial discussions without commitment.”
In return for supporting Derbyshire’s talented young athletes, ICON members receive regular updates on the successes of Derbyshire athletes, information about active workplace initiatives and participation events, and support to develop links with other businesses that share an interest in sport and leisure with an invitation to attend a range of networking events.
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 encourage more links between business and sport in Derbyshire. Each ICON member contributes an annual membership fee, and this money goes directly to athletes through the bursary scheme.
All of the bursary recipients live in Derbyshire or compete for a Derbyshire-based club, and include sports performers from Amber Valley, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derby, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, High Peak, North East Derbyshire and South Derbyshire. The group of athletes has been drawn from more than 25 different sports, including athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, cricket, golf, netball, swimming, sailing and table tennis.
More information about ICON, including how to become a member, is available from Rachel Felix on 01773 571224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.