TWENTY one talented High Peak athletes have been awarded grants totalling £4,500.
The bursaries of between £150 and £400 were awarded by the Podium sports partnership to help the rising stars meet training and competition costs.
What is more, all the recipients have been given free access to swimming pools and fitness gyms run by DC Leisure for the Borough Council, which is a Podium partner.
Grant-aided athletes include 18-year-old Glossop pole vaulter Katie Byres, who is waiting to hear if she has made the Great Britain athletics squad for the London 2012 Olympics.
Katie jumped 4m 36 in the French Elite Pole Vault Tour in January, breaking the national junior record and putting her fourth on the UK all-time women’s list.
Other recipients include 20-year-old swimmer Russell Smith, from New Mills, who won a silver medal at the British Championships in the 50m breaststroke, and competed in the Olympic trials last month.
Bamford-based skiing brothers James and Robert Machon, aged 21 and 19 respectively, are both aiming for the 2014 Winter Olympics. James hopes to win the British Championships for a fourth year running in 2012 while Robert recently triumphed in the University Slopestyle title at the Castleford Snow Zone.
Bursaries were also awarded to Stephen Brunt (archery), from Buxton; Marsie Henderson-Hirst (archery), from Buxton; Jack Massey (boxing), from Chapel-en-le-Frith; George Bloor (golf), from Chapel-en-le-Frith; Ben Higgins (golf), from Buxton; Judith Browne (ice hockey), from Glossop; Abigail Walker (judo), from Glossop; Eric Ham (judo), from Hadfield; and Rhiannon Baldwin (judo), from Glossop.
The other recipients were Holly Rogers (kickboxing), from Buxton; Jake Hutchinson (lacrosse), from Birch Vale; Dominic O’Connor (rugby union), from Glossop; Danielle Blinco (shooting), from Buxton; Hannah Davies (shooting), from New Mills; David Voorheis (shooting), from Buxton; Abbie Wood (swimming), from Buxton; and Joel Leighton (water polo), from Hope Valley.
A civic reception was thrown for the athletes in Buxton Swimming and Fitness Centre on Tuesday (May 1) when borough council leader Caitlin Bisknell joined forces with Anthony McKeown, executive councillor for community services; Mark Warburton, DC Leisure contract manager; Cllr George Wharmby, chairman of Derbyshire County Council; his consort, Cllr Jean Wharmby; and Cllr Carol Hart, chair of Derbyshire Sport; to congratulate the guests of honour on their achievements.
Cllr McKeown said: “While the next few weeks will be all about our current athletes as they take part in the Olympics, without a focus on the next generation, that enthusiasm and legacy from the Olympics will be lost, which is why the Podium funding and support to the next generation is so important.
“Within the High Peak, there is a breadth and depth of sporting talent which, with our support through schemes such as this, can go on to achieve great things on the national and international stage whilst their dedication to their chosen sport makes them marvellous role models for young people in our communities”.
Managed by Derbyshire Sport, Podium is backed by the county’s sport and business scheme ICON, with money raised from the scheme used to support local athletes through Podium. The borough council is one of more than 40 Podium members.