The Vale of Glamorgan Council has joined forces with Legacy Leisure to support a number of talented young sportspeople across the Vale.
The Sports Academy Scheme offers successful Academy members free access to Vale of Glamorgan Council-owned leisure facilities. By taking away this financial burden, the Council hopes that the athletes can focus on their training, and achieve their sporting aspirations.
The Council’s Sports & Play Development Manager, Karen Davies, said: “The Vale is fortunate to have a large number of residents competing at a very high level, meaning there was high competition for the limited spaces available on the scheme.
“All of the successful applicants are Welsh internationals and Welsh squad members in their respective sports, with a number of them competing for Great Britain.”
18 year old Matilda Matthews, from Barry, is one of the successful Sports Academy members to have competed for Team GB.
She has competed at the Sailing 420 World Championships, and at the World Cup – a competition that Olympic silver medallist, Hannah Mills, of Dinas Powys, also competed at – as well as the Junior World Championships.
Miss Matthew’s ambition for 2017/18 is to retain her GB selection, and make the step from Youth to Olympic squad.
Kristian Jones, an 18-year old sprinter from Treoes, is another local resident who has been representing Great Britain at various international events.
Mister Jones is the current under-20 100m and 200m champion, and qualified for the highly-contested British Olympic trials. He currently trains with the GB squad, and is hoping to qualify for the Commonwealth Games as an individual, and as part of the relay team.
Other successful Sports Academy members include international discus throwers, a wrestler aiming for 2018 Commonwealth Games, a GB surf lifesaving champion, a British champion sprint kayaker aiming for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, GB sailors, and a Tae Kwon Do international ranked second in Great Britain.
Cllr. Gwyn John, Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services, said of the Academy Scheme: “It was an extremely difficult task for the panel members to select who would take up the coveted spaces.
“It is fantastic, however, to see such tremendous talent coming out of the Vale, much of which has been nurtured by the strong sports clubs we have in our county.
“We hope that their membership with the Sports Academy will assist them in their sporting careers.”
Sports Academy membership is decided on a yearly basis, with all 2017 spaces now occupied. Applications for membership for the 2018 period will be accepted around October.