3rd May 2016
(Source: GLL Sport Foundation)
GLL BACKS FENCING SPORTING TALENT TO RIO AND BEYOND
Forty four fencers will benefit from a UK wide £1,200,000 fund – thanks to charitable social enterprise GLL. The athletes will be supported through the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF) the largest independent athlete talent programme in the UK, in partnership with SportsAid, local councils and British Fencing.
With the Rio Olympics and Paralympics on the horizon, many of the GSF supported athletes will use their awards to assist in their preparations for the Games. GSF awards provide a range of elements including funding for training camps, to sport science and physio support. There are supported local athletes focused on success at Rio 2016 including James-Andrew Davis and Marcus Mepstead and due to the number of young athletes on the programme there are significantly more targeting the 2020 and 2024 Games.
The supported athletes represent more than 30 Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic sporting disciplines, with fencing being one of the more popular sports. Most of the funding is designed to help young developing talent and 77% of awards are to athletes aged under 21. These are difficult ages for young athletes, when funding is not easily available and the costs of competition and training are high. Indeed 84% of GSF award recipients receive no other sport funding.
GSF Patron and former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell explained the core role the Foundation takes in supporting the next generation of athletes and thus ensuring a sporting legacy is in place not just for Rio but for future generations: “It is vitally important that we inspire young people to excel in sport and harness their talent towards future Games”.
“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, GLL Sport Foundation Chair, paid tribute to the athletes: “Congratulations to all of the athletes receiving awards. We know first hand the commitment, effort and sacrifices they are making to harness their talent. I would like to also thank all our partners, sponsors and supporters for their support for the programme. SportsAid provide the direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways, our corporate sponsors and numerous local authority, university and sporting partners directly contribute to support these sporting dreams to become a reality”.
GSF supported ambassador, 25 year old GB fencer Marcus Mepstead described how the GSF is supporting athletes such as him along his sporting journey: “The ambassador role for the GLL Sport Foundation enables me inspire the next generation and increase my work within my sport. I am the Fencing representative for the British Athletes Commission and work with many of the junior squad as they progress onto the senior fencing team”.
“The multilateral scope of the GLL Sport Foundation would give me the opportunity to help more people push towards their sporting goals. This year I was an integral part of the team that won Great Britain’s first European Games’ Gold and now gained Olympic qualification. Throughout my sporting career I have funded myself through part time work, studied at university and qualified for European and World Championships”.
Fellow GB fencer also selected for the Rio Olympics is Richard Kruse who emphasised how the support aids his sporting quest: “GLL have supported me for a number of years now. The support is very helpful and the money is used to help me with my living costs in London. Going into Rio I believe I am in one of the strongest Men's Foil teams that Britain has ever produced”.
Supported athletes receive award packages that include financial grants of up to £1,250 used to fund competition expenses and sporting costs, training memberships enabling venue access across GLL and partner operated venues to supplement their core training programmes; and access to sports science, performance sport and employment opportunities all focussed towards supporting their athlete journey.