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1,500 miles a month – what it takes to reach the top!

September 23rd 2019
Jane Percival

Great Britain’s future Olympians and Paralympians are travelling nearly 1,500 miles every single month to train and compete according to SportsAid’s annual athlete survey.

The survey aims to highlight the commitment and dedication shown by the next generation of athletes – and their families – as they look to pursue their sporting ambitions. The questions asked covered a range of topics including finance, biggest challenges, key motivations and the importance of SportsAid.

The survey, revealed on the opening day of SportsAid Week 2019, shows that athletes travel 373 miles in a typical week to get to training and competitions. That’s a huge jump from the 207 miles recorded last year. The majority of athletes train twice a day with the most frequent time for sessions falling between 5pm and 9pm. As you’d expect, with the distance covered getting to and from venues, travel is the single greatest expenditure for athletes followed by money spent on accommodation.

The overall average spend for a SportsAid athlete annually has risen from £5,022 to £7,089 over the last decade. The charity supported 1,058 athletes, mostly aged between 12 and 18 years old, in 2018/19. Therefore, the Bank of Mum and Dad, British sport’s most loyal and longstanding ‘sponsor’, committed more than £8m to support their talented children throughout the last 12 months. 15% of athletes would have had to either give up their sport or consider doing so without SportsAid.

The findings from the survey have been released to coincide with SportsAid Week. The fundraising drive is taking place for the fourth consecutive year and has generated close to £150,000 since 2016. The money raised helps the charity to provide crucial financial support, national recognition and personal development opportunities to the country’s most promising young athletes during the early stages of their careers. There’s still time to get involved!

Click here for more information.

So what is SportsAid doing for Archery GB athletes? We spoke to two: Penny Healey and Ryan Pinder.

Penny said: “This year my archery career has taken a huge leap forward from shooting local and national competitions as a member of the Archery GB National Age Group Academy to representing Great Britain in three international events including the Youth World Championships in Madrid.

“I returned from the European Youth Cup 1st leg with a gold medal in the cadet mixed team event, followed by a bronze medal at the European Youth cup 2nd leg as a member of the recurve cadet women’s team.

“Although I have worked hard this year to achieve these results it would have been very hard to achieve without the support and funding from SportsAid and Backing The Best.

“I competed at the Youth World Championships – an amazing dream come true. All of this has been made possible thanks to Sports Aid and Backing the Best.  With their help and support I am confident in achieving my dream of becoming an Olympic archer.”

Ryan said: “SportsAid has supported me massively with international trips this year, aiding me to compete at the Europa Youth Cup in Romania. This trip allowed me the correct preparation to compete at the World Youth Championships in Madrid.

“Without SportsAid assistance this would be very difficult. They have run workshops and offered further support which has helped aid areas of my sport which I have in the past focused on less.

“I am incredibly grateful for the support given and look forward to working alongside SportsAid for years to come.”

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