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25 Sep 2019

'Bank of Mum and Dad' paying £7,000 a year to keep talented kids in sport
BY Tom Walker

SportsAid alumni include 2017 European gymnastics champion Ellie Downie, the first gymnast to win a major all-around title for Great Britain

SportsAid alumni include 2017 European gymnastics champion Ellie Downie, the first gymnast to win a major all-around title for Great Britain

Parents of talented athletes are forking out more than £7,000 a year to ensure their children have the opportunity to excel in their chosen sports.

The figures come from a survey of 650 athletes who receive funding from national charity SportsAid.

The research showed that the average investment made by parents has risen from £5,022 to £7,089 per year over the last decade.

Contributing to the financial cost of competing, the survey – carried out by Nunki Solutions – found that SportsAid’s athletes typically travel 373 miles a week to get to training and competitions, up more than 80 per cent from last year’s figure of 207.

It also revealed that to keep up with the pace, athletes aged between 12 and 18 years typically train twice a day and combine their schedule with school or college work.

SportsAid provides both financial and non-financial support to talented young athletes. One of its headline programmes is the Backing The Best initiative – funded by Sport England – which has distributed more than £1m to young athletes since its launch in 2016.

According to SportsAid figures, its alumni were responsible for 69 per cent of Team GB’s medals and 71 per cent of ParalympicsGB’s medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We wish to create the world’s best sporting talent system, which constantly delivers results," said Phil Smith, Sport England's executive director of sport.

"For us that means great athletes and great performances, but it also means a system which is open to young people from different backgrounds and circumstances."

“Our investment in SportsAid makes it possible for many more athletes to fulfil their potential.”



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