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Sport England supports next generation of sporting stars

March 31, 2014

From 1 October, Sport England will take over the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS); a unique partnership between sport governing bodies and the education sector to help up and coming athletes balance the demands of college and university life with training and competing at national and international level.

The scheme, which was established in 2004 and is currently funded by UK Sport, complements the work already being done by Sport England to support the development of talented young athletes, ensuring those with podium dreams receive the best possible coaching and support in high-quality facilities.

Sport England Director of Sport, Phil Smith, said: “We want talented young athletes across all our funded sports to have the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential.

“Over the last 10 years TASS has helped thousands of athletes to do this and over the next three years even more athletes from a range of sports will benefit from the scheme.

“We’re proud to support the next generation of sporting stars as well as those who may not go onto elite success but will continue to be a driving force in community sport whether it’s as a coach, administrator or volunteer.”

Typically each athlete has had access to £3,500 of core services including strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, psychology, medical support, lifestyle and education support, mentoring and career support, as well as more sport specific services such as coaching. The core services are delivered by one of 15 higher education institutions throughout England, allowing the athletes to manage their time better because their sports services and education are close by.

Amy Wilson-Hardy, a TASS athlete from 2007 to 2012 through Brighton University and University of Bath, said: “TASS provided me with the building blocks to become a better athlete. Attentive strength and conditioning coaches enabled me to improve my on field performance by providing me with specific programmes based on my goals. I was helped enormously to come back from serious injures with strength and confidence thanks to the medical cover TASS provided.

“Mentors ensured I was able to balance a challenging degree alongside my training and regular workshops provided an early insight into the life of an elite athlete. I would not be where I am today without all of the support TASS gave me.”

Amy earned her first England 7s and England XVs caps in 2013 and has subsequently earned four England 7s caps and three England XV caps.

Since its inception in 2004, TASS has invested £30 million to support more than 4,000 athletes, including 200 athletes who went on to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, winning 44 medals including 15 gold. More recently, the programme supported 29 athletes who went on to compete at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, winning five medals between them including one gold.

Sport England’s funding of TASS will align it with the funding already investing into talent development, and reflect Sport England’s ambition to ensure the England talent system is open and accessible to everyone.

The programme will be managed by SportsAid, one of Sport England’s national partners. The charity specialises in helping talented athletes by giving them cash awards during the critical early years of their careers so they can train and compete to their full potential >>more