The Isle of Wight Council runs the talented athlete scheme which is highly supported by sponsors including Wightlink, Southern Vectis and local companies such as physiotherapists. This valuable support means the athletes are able to access discounted ferry and bus travel and access important physio services. The council also provides free access to its leisure and gym facilities.
The aim is to assist the Isle of Wight athletes in their development and improve their performances. There are 62 athletes on the scheme, ranging from eight to 66 years old.
Among the successes over 2014 include discus thrower Nick Percy, who represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and is ranked number one in the UK at under 23 level. Weightlifter Lewis Ridett finished second in the British National Championships, while Kathrin Bright won the English Open doubles in shooting.
Becky Cook is ranked second in the world for Women’s motorcycling trials, and Harriet Little was part of the winning British Archery team at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Junior Paralympic Games.
Numerous others have gone on to represent England and Great Britain in sports such as bowls, sailing, triathlon, shooting and golf.
The youngest athlete on the scheme, eight year old Amelie Haworth, won the Bournemouth under 11s squash tournament and has been selected to represent Hampshire at under 13 level.
Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for economy and tourism, said:
“I congratulate every athlete on the scheme and it is great to see so much success in 2014 and also want to thank the companies that support it, without which it simply would not be possible.
“The Isle of Wight can be proud of each one of them and dozens of athletes will again be supported throughout 2015.”
Many athletes on the scheme have commented how it significantly helps towards their development, training commitments and successes.
More information on the talented athlete scheme can found at www.iwight.com/sportsunit.