Aiming to emulate Rio star’s success

The seven athletes who have gained ICON funding.
The seven athletes who have gained ICON funding.

Some of Chesterfield’s most-talented sports stars have been inducted on to the 2016-17 ICON programme that boasts the town’s Rio table tennis Olympian, Liam Pitchford, as a past recipient.

A total of seven athletes shared £1,250 of backing, which they can use to help meet travel, equipment, coaching or competition costs in the coming 12 months.

The seven athletes who have gained ICON funding.

The seven athletes who have gained ICON funding.

Each has also been handed a leisure pass by Chesterfield Borough Council to further help with their training.

They received their bursaries at a ceremony at the Queen’s Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield.

All of the athletes are tipped for further success in their respective sports and have either been selected to compete for Great Britain or a home nation, have won a national championship medal, are part of a recognised national development squad or club academy structure, or are a member of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS).

Those to receive ICON backing are athletics twins Alicia Barrett and Ella Barrett, squash player Ashley Davies, golfer George Woolgar, tug-of-war competitor Anne Wildgoose, taekwondo exponent Aaron Cobley and cyclist Sam Walsham.

James Cook, of programme administrators Derbyshire Sport, explained how the ICON system worked, while Chris Wright, Queen’s Park Sports Centre manager, met athletes to hand over their bursary cheques and leisure passes.

“Talented athletes from across the county, including in Chesterfield, have to give up so much, make huge sacrifices and, in many cases, travel great distances to compete,” he said. “Any help that the ICON programme can give to make their task that little bit easier is no more than they deserve.”

Chesterfield Borough Council is among 10 local authorities that are members of ICON, which was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting Derbyshire legacy from the London 2012 Olympics.