41 talented young athletes from Islington will benefit from a £23,900 fund – thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL. The athletes will be supported through the ground breaking GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent athlete support programme in the UK.

The athlete awards cover Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic, Special Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines. With a staggering 89% of award recipients receiving no other sport funding and 73% of recipients being aged under 21, the Sport Foundation has highlighted a vital funding gap for young talented athletes currently competing and National and international levels.

Dominic de Almeida (Fencing) – “I have been selected to compete as 1 of 4 GB Fencers at the European Championships in Bulgaria and I hope to qualify for the World Championships later this year too and win medals in both of these events. Fencing unfortunately is a very expensive sport and the equipment and travel costs a lot. I need to travel a lot internationally in order to compete and train with the very best in the world. Furthermore, this year British Fencing lost their UK Sport funding  so now I will receive much less support from British Fencing. As a result, your sponsorship is vital for me to carry on pursuing my dream which is to eventually win an Olympic Medal.”

Cherrelle Brown (Boxing) – “I have been boxing for five years now and I would not have been able to compete at the level that I have without the support of GLL and their facilities. In 2016 I was once again invited to represent my country on the English boxing team. During that time I was able to secure the Elite Amateur Boxing Championship (ABA) title. Without the funding of GLL I would not have been able to buy the necessary equipment and go to England Boxing training camps in Sheffield. With GLL sponsorship I have also been able to attend athlete events hosted by GLL as an ambassador. At these events I was able to inspire young and competing athletes with my story - this was both motivating and humbling for me.”

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: “It is vitally important that we inspire young people to excel in sport and harness their talent towards future success.

From starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I know that support through your development years is crucial. I am delighted that through this programme I am able to champion such support for future sporting talent”.

Peter Bundey, GSF Chair, paid tribute to the athletes, programme stakeholders and also highlighted the impact the Foundation is making: “Congratulations to all of the athletes receiving awards. We know first hand the commitment, effort and sacrifices they are making to perform at their best.

I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for their support for the programme. SportsAid, SportsAid Wales and Mary Peters Trust provide the direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways, whilst our many corporate sponsors headlined by GLL and Technogym, numerous local authorities, university and physiotherapy partners directly contribute to support these sporting dreams to become a reality”.

Since its launch in 2007, the GSF has provided over 13,000 athlete awards at a total support value of over £7.5million across the UK.

The Rio Olympics and Paralympics were a historic successes for Team GB, and the GSF supported athletes also broke the Foundation’s record medal haul with 20 medals won between them.

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.

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