MORE than twenty athletes from Winchester are to receive funding from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme (HTAS).

The programme, which is funded by Hampshire County Council and administered in partnership with Sport Hampshire & IOW, helps rising sportsmen and women reach their potential.

In Winchester 21 athletes have been selected from 12 different sports, including heptathlete Emma Buckett, gymnast Kelly Simm and sailor Annabel Vose.

Athletes receive help with training, equipment, physiotherapy, grants up to £400 and travel. Free bus passes are provided from Bluestar, First and Stagecoach, as well as sports science support from Southampton Solent University.

Hampshire's council leader, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: “Following the success of so many Hampshire athletes at the London 2012 Games, it is fantastic to see even more athletes than ever before receiving support from the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme.”

In total 218 athletes from Hampshire will receive support this year, and since the programme began in 2008, over 700 people have been assisted, including Olympic gold medallist Dani King.