Derbyshire ICON scheme aims to help next generation of Erewash stars

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Do you have ambitions to follow in the footsteps of major championship medal winners Adam Peaty, Liam Pitchford, Caroline Povey, Abbie Wood and Mollie Renshaw?

If so, Derbyshire’s ICON bursary programme, now open for 2015-16 applications, could help you reach the top.

All the famous five athletes above have been financially supported by the scheme at one point or another during their careers.

They have also received free leisure passes in the district or borough where they train and been given valuable PR exposure.

Derventio eXcel swimmer Wood, who won the first ever gold medal at the European Games, held in Baku, Azerbaijan this summer has been on ICON since its inception in 2011.

The 16-year-old, said: “The support from ICON has been an important part of my development in my aim to compete on a world level and eventually at the Olympics.

“Not only is it great to be able to access local facilities to train, but it’s also invaluable to receive financial help that helps to pay to compete around the country and overseas.”

A total of nine athletes from the Erewash area benefited from ICON support in 2014-2015, sharing a total of £1,600.

Among them were West Hallam skier Justin Taylor-Tipton, who was a gold medallist in the English Slopestyle Championships where in both the under-16s Male Ski and Overall Make Ski sections.

Another to benefit is Borrowash table tennis player Emma Vickers, who reached the semi-finals of the women’s singles at the senior National Championships.

There have been 131 athletes in all from across the county on the Derbyshire Sport-run programme over the past 12 months, awarded bursaries totalling £21,925.

That was made possible by the contributions of all 10 Derbyshire local authorities, plus a number of business members from across the county.

Each successful applicant must live in one of the county’s nine districts or competes for a Derbyshire-based club and must already compete at a high level to qualify.

All should already be representing their country or Great Britain, have won a national championship medal, are part of a recognised development squad or a development squad aligned to a professional club or have been selected for the Derbyshire Institute of Sport.

Their sport must be recognised by Sport England for an application to be successful.