Chesterfield athletes to benefit from funding...

England's Liam Pitchford during his bronze medal match in the Men's singles table tennis at Scotstoun Sports Campus, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 2, 2014. See PA story COMMONWEALTH Table Tennis. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No video emulation.
England's Liam Pitchford during his bronze medal match in the Men's singles table tennis at Scotstoun Sports Campus, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 2, 2014. See PA story COMMONWEALTH Table Tennis. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No video emulation.

Liam Pitchford is one of 17 athletes from Chesterfield to receive funding from Derbyshire Sport’s business network ICON.

England’s Number One table tennis player reached new highs this summer when he won three medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

And his continued success is a shining example of how the money can aid development of Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games hopefuls.

He said: “ICON really helped me a lot when I was coming through into the national set-up. It helped me get access to the best practice facilities possible at a time when I didn’t have national governing body funding.”

The pot, totalling £21,575, will be shared out among 128 athletes, who either live in one of the county’s nine districts or compete for a Derbyshire-based club.

All are already 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 sports club or have been selected for the Derbyshire Institute of Sport.

They will receive a bursary up to a maximum of £250 to help meet costs such as travel, accommodation, equipment, coaching fees, clothing or competition entry, use of leisure facilities and a boost to their profile through local publicity.

Pro golfer George Woolgar, squash player Ashley Davies, tennis ace Bradley Buckland, female boxer Jade Ashmore and athletics sisters Alicia and Ella Barrett are among those to receive funding.

ICON was set up by Derbyshire Sport as part of the work to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games and encourage more links between business and sport.

Each member contributes an annual membership fee, and this money goes directly to athletes through the bursary scheme.

Director of Derbyshire Sport Hayley Lever said: “The ICON programme is a fantastic way for us to support emerging talented athletes from all over Derbyshire and we have an ambition to produce more champions on the national and international stage, regardless of where that athlete lives or their background.

“ICON enables local businesses and local authorities to support their local talent. It also brings these athletes to our attention early on in their careers, so that we can give them the profile and recognition they deserve.