This afternoon I recorded an interview with Sunrise radio on Ealingâ€™s venture into sports sponsorship, called Team Ealing Ambassadors. This is a really exciting project to provide some much needed support to local Olympic hopefuls.
Having been involved in the sport of rowing at a level that was well down from the elite level I have a small idea of what it takes to be an elite athlete. Apart from all of the time and dedication layered onto innate talent it also takes a lot of cash: kit, physios, diet supplements, travel to events, travel to out of season testing, match fees, the list goes on. This programme will support a small number of elite athletes by giving them up to Â£10K each between now and the Olympics. Many of these people will be being supported by their parents and trying to train whilst holding down a job.
The criteria are pretty strict and the scheme is only targeted at the elite. No apologies for that.
The scheme will support athletes, within the London Borough of Ealing, who can answer â€œyesâ€ to
the following criteria questions:
â€¢ Are you aged 12 upwards or are of an age, which allows you to compete at the London 2012 Games?
â€¢ Has your relevant National Governing Body of Sport at a national level identified you as a potential athlete who will compete for Great Britain in the London 2012 Games?
â€¢ Are you a current member of a national training squad or team at the date of the application?
â€¢ Do you live in the London Borough of Ealing?
The scheme is not a free ride. In return for the support the athletes will be required to undertake some ambassadorial duties to promote sport and celebrate the Boroughâ€™s sporting achievements.
For more details and an application form go to the press release and follow links here.
This is only a small scheme, offering Â£125K between now and the Olympics, but for a handful of elite athletes it will make all of the difference. Details in Cabinet report here.