Funding aids Rio hopefuls

Olympic hopeful Ellie Downie
Olympic hopeful Ellie Downie
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Sporting stars have had council backing to follow their Olympic and Paralympic dreams all the way to Rio.

Through its Sports Fund Nottinghamshire County Council has given financial help to three hopefuls from the Ashfield district who are aiming for gold during the 2016 games.

Oliver Hynd (swimming, Paralympics), Charlotte Henshaw (swimming, Paralympics) and Ellie Downie (gymnastics, Olympics) will represent Team GB at this year’s Games in Brazil, having received Talented Athlete funding from the county council for 2015/16.

They were among 37 athletes and 23 sports clubs to receive a share of £36,000 in funding provided during 2015/16.

Previous recipients of county council grant-aid funding have included Richard Whitehead and Sophie Wells who will also be representing Team GB at the Paralympics in Rio.

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chairman of Grant-Aid Sub-Committee, which oversees the county council’s Sports Fund, said: “The council’s finances have been hit extremely hard by central Government cuts but we have fought to protect the money we provide to support our sports clubs and elite athletes.

“The costs of competing at international level are huge and can be a massive burden on sports people and their families, with only a limited amount of funding from national bodies and sponsorship to go around.

“We want our athletes to be able to concentrate on preparation, training and competing, not to worry about how they are going to afford it. Although our grants are only a small part of the jigsaw of funding required, I know from the feedback we receive from our elite athletes that it is extremely welcome and can help give them the edge they need to succeed.

“To see Ollie, Ellie and Charlotte compete at the Olympics and Paralympics - the pinnacle of any sportsperson’s career - will be a great source of pride. They continue to be an inspiration to others and we will all be rooting for them and all the other Team Notts competitors to bring home some medals.”

The Grant Aid Sub Committee is set to consider the applications for the 2016-18 Sports Fund in October.