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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Scholarship scheme boosts sport
Sheldon Jopling
Award winner Sheldon Jopling appeared on the BBC's Born To Win
The first ever scheme designed to give scholarships to talented young sports people is being launched on Thursday.

The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) will give money to those between 16 and 25 to enable them to receive top quality coaching and physiotherapy.

They will also gain access to the best facilities in their part of the UK.

The first nine youngsters to be backed by the scheme, which is worth 6m over its first two years, will attend the Downing Street launch.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said: "TASS will provide that vital link in the sporting chain where sometimes we've failed to convert promise into real success at the top.

"These awards will help harness the talent that we have amongst the young in this country - and hopefully propel them on to the highest level.

"Around 1,000 young people, across around 50 different sports, should benefit from TASS in its first year alone."

Ms Jowell said she also hoped the scheme would ensure that leading sporting talent did not "slip through the net" in future.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell has backed the benefits of the new scheme

TASS scholarships worth 3,000 will be awarded in September to athletes aged between 19 and 25 to allow them to develop in their sport and continue their academic studies.

Bursaries worth 1,000 will be awarded earlier in the summer to 16 to 19-year-olds who are in further education or who have left to work.

National governing bodies for the eligible sports will be responsible for identifying those deserving help through the scheme.

The first nine recipients under the TASS initiative are:

BEN EDWARD-INATIMI, RUGBY LEAGUE

Ben is studying journalism and politics at Salford University. He represents Salford University and was part of the successful English Universities team at the British Championships.

SHELDON JOPLING, BOXING

The first recipient of a TASS award, Sheldon was the runner-up in the BBC's Born To Win programme. He equalled the points total of winner Garth Chamberlain but came second having won fewer events overall. He is part of the Amateur Boxing Association's potential programme.

SARAH BURRETT, WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL

Sarah, who started playing basketball at 13, is studying business studies and sport sciences at Brunel University. She became part of the British squad at the age of 15 in 2000 and has played in several international competitions, including the Sydney Paralympics.

MARIE EWING, NETBALL

Marie will begin to study at Northumbria University in September. She is part of the England Under-19 squad and competed in the European Championships in March. She captains the North Durham Under-18 county side.

OLIVER MURLEY, DIVING

Oliver will receive a TASS scholarship if he succeeds in winning a place at Sheffield Hallam University in September. He competed at the European Junior Championships in Cyprus and will take part in his first senior international in Rome at the end of May.

AMY OLDING, GOLF

Amy is studying computing and management service at Loughborough University. She is a three handicap golfer and a former member of the English Ladies' Golf Association World Class Start programme.

GEMMA CHAPMAN, TABLE TENNIS

Gemma is being nominated for either a scholarship or a bursary, depending on whether she continues in education or takes up employment. She is ranked number eight in the country's junior rankings and 13th in the senior rankings. She won the National Trail Singles in 2003.

OLIVIA HYMAN, DISABLED POWER LIFTING

Olivia featured in the Department of Culture's Sporting Britain publication in April to illustrate the benefits of the TASS programme. The 16-year-old won a number of awards at the National Junior Games in 2002 and 2003. She also won the gold medal at the National Wheelchair Championships.

DAVID SMALL, WATER SKIING

David is studying environmental architectural engineering at Nottingham University. He has just become the World Overall Barefoot Champion for the second time, as well as being the World Jump Barefoot Champion and the World Trick Barefoot Champion.


SEE ALSO:
Olympic lottery bill unveiled
03 Dec 03  |  London
School sports in lottery windfall
09 Mar 04  |  England
Major sports get cash boost
18 Nov 03  |  SOL


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