UP-AND-COMING athletes in Winchester have been given the chance to gain much-needed support as part of a sports talent development scheme.

Now in its fifth year, Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions initiative provides more than 1,200 athletes with the facilities and support needed for their training and to help them reach their full potential.

If successful, athletes will receive free use of Everyone Active’s 190 leisure facilities across the country, including the newly built Winchester Sports and Leisure Park, managed by Everyone Active on behalf of Winchester City Council.

Olympic silver medallist Colin Jackson is continuing to support the scheme through his role as an ambassador.

Alongside some of Team GB’s top talent, he will play an integral part in providing both one-to-one and group mentoring sessions.

Colin said: “I’m proud to be involved in a scheme that is so dedicated to supporting athletic talent from grass roots up.

“I have seen this scheme grow year on year and I think it’s so important that we continue to drive sporting excellence in our country.

“The Sporting Champions scheme has helped hundreds of athletes to achieve their sporting dreams and I can’t wait to see what this year’s intake go on to achieve.”

Over the past five years, Sporting Champions has invested more than £1million into athletes on the scheme.

As well as up-and-coming stars, Olympic and Paralympic athletes are supported, including double Olympic gold-winning gymnast Max Whitlock, who has been selected by Team GB for his third Games this summer.

Alison Norman, Everyone Active’s area contract manager, said: “We are delighted to support sports stars from Winchester on their journey to success.

“As a leisure provider working in partnership with Winchester City Council, we feel it is important to cater for all sections of the community.

“The Sporting Champions scheme has already supported a huge number of athletes and I’m proud that we are continuing this again in 2021.

“We hope to continue making a real difference to our athletes’ success.”

Applicants should visit www.easportingchampions.com/apply-now/ to fill out the online application form, which will be available from Tuesday, June 1 – Wednesday, June 30.

To find out more about Everyone Active’s Sporting Champions programme, visit www.easportingchampions.com.