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Twelve top young athletes receive Sky Sports scholarship


Sky Sports has launched a new scholarship scheme that will help support twelve young athletes from Britain and Ireland realise their potential over the next three years.

The Sky Sports Scholarships scheme will provide tailored support to an exciting group of athletes in the early stages of their sporting careers, some of whom have medal ambitions at the next winter and summer games.

The scheme – launched today – will offer assistance through financial support, media training, mentoring and much more and is the latest grass roots sports initiative supported by Sky.

The twelve athletes awarded scholarships are: Jack Bateson (boxing), Holly Bleasdale (pole vault), Olivia Breen (sprints), Elise Christie (speed skating), Lucy Garner (cycling), Quillan Isidore (BMX), Jessica Judd (800m), Savannah Marshall (boxing), Siobhan O’Connor (swimming), Sam Oldham (gymnastics), Louis Persent (400m) and Jason Quigley (boxing).

Leading the scholarship programme is former UK Athletics National Events coach Tony Lester, who has mentored Roger Black, Nicola Sanders and Mark Richardson to medal winning performances. He will work with each athlete and their coaches to ensure that the scholarship support is tailored to the individual’s requirements.

Tony Lester, head of Sky Sports Scholarships, said: “These scholarships will make a real difference to the careers of these athletes. We will help deliver the right combination of performance and personal development support to ensure each athlete can help realise their potential in competition and beyond.”

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports added: “We’re proud of our scholarship scheme and we’re proud of our twelve scholars. At Sky we believe in the power of sport and the difference it can make at all levels and we can’t wait to partner with these athletes over the next three years.”

The athletes were awarded their scholarships after a selection process that considered existing competitive results, medal potential and ambitions beyond sport.

As part of their roles, the scholars will get involved with Sky’s other sporting initiatives and programming. These include Sky Sports Living for Sport, which works in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust to help change the lives of over 30,000 young people every year and Game Changers, the new Saturday morning show that aims to inspire kids to get active and have fun.



The athletes who will join the Sky Sports Scholarship scheme for the next three years are:

JACK BATESON: The youngest member of the Great Britain squad, Jack won light-flyweight bronze at this year’s European Championships.

HOLLY BLEASDALE: Holly holds the British record in the pole vault, and has won medals including European indoor gold and world indoor bronze.

OLIVIA BREEN: Sprinter Olivia has already made her mark with 4x100m relay bronze at the London 2012 Paralympics.

ELISE CHRISTIE: This year, short-track speed skater Elise has won world speed skating bronze and two European Championship golds.

LUCY GARNER: Cyclist Lucy is a double world junior champion, and was a multiple medal-winner at last year’s European Track Championships.

QUILLAN ISIDORE: At 16, Quillan is already two-time British BMX racing national champion, and last year was crowned Boys U16 World Champion.

JESSICA JUDD: One of Team GB’s brightest hopes, middle-distance runner Jessica is a double world junior silver medallist.

SAVANNAH MARSHALL: Nicknamed ‘The Silent Assassin’, boxer Savannah won the AIBA middleweight World Championships in 2012.

SIOBHAN O’CONNOR: Double European junior champion Siobhan was the youngest Team GB swimmer at London 2012.

SAM OLDHAM: Sam competed alongside Louis Smith as part of Team GB’s bronze medal-winning gymnastic squad at London 2012.

LOUIS PERSENT: Louis won European junior bronze in the 400m while studying for a degree in architecture at Cambridge University.

JASON QUIGLEY: The current Irish middleweight champion, Jason has also won European gold at both U23 and senior level.


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