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A winning streak

Young athletes on the road to Rio are being given a boost through a bursary scheme supporting eight of the borough’s top rising stars.

The Council’s sports bursary scheme is now in its third year and provides recipients with a cash value of £3,000 to go towards specialist coaching, essential equipment and other expenses incurred when competing at an elite level.

The bursary scheme first began in 2012, thanks to a deal secured by Waltham Forest Council with the Australian Olympic Committee.

In return for using the Council’s Construction Skills Centre in Leytonstone to distribute Olympic kit during the Games, the Australian Olympic Committee funded 10 sports bursaries to the tune of £30,000.

Through the bursary young athletes are given access to professional coaches from the University of East London (UEL), helping them run faster, jump higher and throw further.

Council Leader Chris Robbins recognises the success of the scheme and its impact on young aspiring athletes within the borough.

“Following the success of year one, the Council decided to fund a second and then third year.”

“In return for our support, each of the athletes is able to focus on their training and the time and effort they put in, at such a young age, is truly admirable.”

19 year old Reece Prescod is in the third year of his bursary and has high hopes to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and is currently ranked first in Europe for the 200m event in the under 20s category.

“The Waltham Forest Sports Bursary has been brilliant, and without it I would not have had access to some amazing facilities and coaches. I feel very fortunate, and 
this is going to be a massive year for me. As this is my last year as a junior, I want to continue concentrating on my progress to make that step up to senior level, and hopefully have a shot of making it to Rio.”

Another promising athlete is Ryan Nichols, who competes at a national level in disability swimming and currently holds the British record for the S14 category in the 200m backstroke. Ryan is currently on track to qualify for Rio in both the 100m and 200m backstroke.

“The sports bursary funding has been a massive help to me,” said Ryan.

“Improving my performance is not just about time spent training in the pool, but also working on conditioning and strengthening my body, which I have been able to do thanks to working with the team at UEL.”

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