A TRIO of south Essex sporting have received a boost as they bid to make the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Carousel Gymnastics Club’s Sophie Fitzgerald, 13, from Wickford, 16-year-old Southend Swifts basketball player Francesca Whitby, from Hawkwell, and endurance track and road cyclist Russell Hampton, 20, from Basildon were among 12 athletes selected for funding.
Essex County Council announced the recipients of the Team Essex Ambassador’s Awards, a funding programme which will help support potential Olympians across the county, yesterday.
Twelve athletes identified as having the potential to compete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be awarded a £6,500 bursary to help with the costs of training and competing at the highest level.
The athletes come from all across the county and cover a wide spectrum of sports from hockey to 100m hurdles and disability swimming to sailing.
In return for the bursary the athletes will become sporting ambassadors, expected to dedicate time to inspiring young people across the county to become involved in sport.
“In our Essex Sporting Ambassadors we have 12 great athletes and it gives me enormous pleasure to know that Essex County Council funding could contribute to their success in London 2012,” said Cllr Stephen Castle, Essex County Council cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and the 2012 Games. “As equally important as the funding is the commitment the athletes are making to work with the young people in our county, to encourage them in sport and teach them about commitment and discipline.”
The athletes will be formally presented with their awards at a reception at the House of Lords in January.
The other nine recipients are: Anne Wafula Strike, 39, from Harlow, athletics (wheelchair racing); Chloe Rogers, 23, Barnston, Gt Dunmow, hockey; Sarah Claxton, 29, Colchester, athletics (100m hurdles); Alexander O’Connell, 20, Brentwood, fencing (men’s sabre), Daniel King, 25, Colchester, athletics (race walking); Ryan Crouch, 14, Colchester, disability swimming; Dominic King, 25, Colchester, athletics (race walking); Martin Evans, 16, West Mersea, sailing; Daniel Bentley, 24, Great Dunmow, boccia.