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Lincolnshire athletes awarded funding boost

The next generation of athletes from the county who have made on to the Lincolnshire Elite Athlete Programme (LEAP) 2017 have been announced.

Pictured Vicky Beardsley

LEAP, an Active Lincolnshire project that's sponsored by Firstaid4sport, provides bursaries to potential sporting talent in Lincolnshire.

The programme is now in its ninth year and in the past it has supported some famous names at the start of their careers including Olympic hockey gold medallist Shona McCallin and motor racing driver Jack Harvey who has just competed in the Indy 500.

This year the programme is supporting 18 athletes: 15 at county level and three who have made it to international standard. The county standard athletes all receive £250 and international athletes receive £750. The athletes can use the funding to support any element of their training or for competitions they enter.

Michael Davison, MD of FirstAid4Sport, said: "Shortlisting the athletes was a tough process as we had so many good applications. I therefore want to grow the scheme which is why I am working with Active Lincolnshire to promote the LEAP Supporters' Club. For a small donation, organisations and individuals can join the club and in doing so, help us to grow LEAP and support even more of our future sporting stars. We will be issuing a supporters' club logo to all our supporters for them to use in any their marketing platforms."

Nesta Baxter, 17, British and European Individual Champion and a World Team Champion WAKO Kickboxer from Boston, said: "Being accepted into the LEAP 2017 programme is fantastic as it will give me the opportunity to work alongside Active Lincolnshire, Firstaid4sport, and other high level athletes that are also part of the programme.

"The funding will really help me because as an international athlete I travel across not only the country but also Europe to compete in my sport. So this funding will help me to travel to more competitions abroad and to help towards more high level coaching from Great Britain coaches across the country."

Vicky Beardsley, a 16-year-old tennis player from Boston said: "I was so excited to be chosen as a LEAP athlete for this year. It has made me even more determined to train hard, work hard and try to achieve my best ever results. The funding I will receive will enable me to travel to some bigger tournaments and gain experience of playing on bigger stages than I have been used to."

Sophie Lorenz, a 16-year-old rugby player from Boston said: "I feel honoured to be a LEAP athlete. I work extremely hard at my sport and to be recognised for it is brilliant. The funding will help with my training costs and kit, as my boots alone are £140 a pair!  The funding will also allow me to pay for extra coaching."

For a full list of successful athletes visit: activelincolnshire.com/sport/lincolnshire-elite-athlete-programme.

To get in touch about the Supporters' Club, please contact Active Lincolnshire via email at communications@activelincolnshire.com or call 01522 730 325.

Nesta Baxter Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Pictured: Nesta Baxter