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To 2012 - and beyond ...

Date: 20/05/2008           Category: Social Regeneration

A new support programme will help sporting dreams come true for Medway’s talented youngsters. Medway Council is developing Project 2016 to complement its work around the 2012 Olympics. The commitment to establishing Medway as a centre for sporting excellence has already seen the launch of the Elite Athlete Support Programme, and Project 2016 will carry on this work. Local athletes aged between 12 and 15 who represent the county or the South East, or compete in national competition within their discipline, will be eligible to apply for the new scheme. It will entitle them to financial help with equipment, advice from some of the UK’s top athletes and sports scientists - as well as offering free access to local sports facilities. England junior table tennis player Harry Lumb, 13, is one of the Medway athletes set to benefit from the new scheme. His mother Amanda said: “This new support programme will mean Harry can continue to compete at a high level at national tournaments around the country and receive one-to-one coaching. “The possibility of advice from top athletes and sports scientists on the fitness and nutrition side would also be very beneficial. “As Harry's parents, we’re very thankful for the support programme which will assist him in reaching his full potential." Applications for Project 2016 must be received by 31 July for the 2008/09 intake. As the youngsters progress, they may be able to join the Elite Athlete Support Programme, which has already brought huge benefits to local athletes since its launch last year. Among the success stories have been gymnast Victoria Loftus, who won a gold medal at the Special Olympics in Shanghai in the autumn; James Lewis, who became British Schools Judo Champion in March, 400m hurdler Michael Baker, who was GB team captain at the World Youth Games, and Rachel Burford, part of the England women’s rugby team who celebrated their third Grand Slam in a row this year. In addition to Project 2016, a support programme for county and regional athletes aged 16 to 24 is also being established. For details of how to apply go to www.medway.gov.uk/athletesupport