516-talented-athlete-groupThe Isle of Wight Council’s sports unit is providing more opportunities to support the next generation of sporting stars from the Island.

The ‘talented athlete’ scheme is now accepting applications for 2015, with a closing date of 31st December. Successful applicants will be announced in January.

The scheme gives support to Isle of Wight athletes who are performing at a high level in their sport with the aim of helping their development and achieving further success. This involves providing free access to council-run leisure centres, discounted travel on Wightlink and assisted bus travel with Southern Vectis as well as discounts in selected local retailers and physio services.

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There are two categories for sports people to apply in – Elite Performer and Junior Performer.

For the juniors to be eligible, the person must meet certain criteria including being ranked in the top ten of their sport at regional level or top five at county level. They must also be a member of a county squad, be an Isle of Wight resident and be aged 16 or under.

For the elite category, a number of criteria must be met, again mainly relating to the ranking in their sport. They need to be ranked in the top ten at regional level and the top twenty at national or international level. They must also be part of a national development programme or national team and live on the Island. They must also be non-professional. The elite category is open to any age.

Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism Shirley Smart said:

“The Isle of Wight can rightfully boast many top level sportsmen and women over the years, such as Lewis Attrill, Kelly Sotherton, Danny Briggs and Carl Preen to name a few. More recently we have seen success in a major tournament for Keegan Brown from Newport.

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“The council is very pleased to continue to offer the talented athlete scheme with our partners to help support the development of a number of our top sporting stars.”

To request an application pack, contact the council’s sports unit on (01983) 823818 or email [email protected].

The scheme was first launched in 2013 and supported numerous sporting stars from the Island. Sports represented included motocross, ice hockey, athletics, swimming and landsail racing.

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