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Better Cardiff leisure centres to help local athletes go for gold in 2020

Last year's recipients of the GLL Sport Foundation at Wales Cricket Ground

In 2020, GLL – the UK’s largest charitable leisure social enterprise that manages Better Cardiff Leisure Centres – is set to support local athletes through its athlete support programme, the GLL Sport Foundation.

Eligible athletes can benefit from award packages that include financial grants of up to £1,250, free training memberships to use Cardiff leisure centres’ facilities and across 300 GLL and partner operated sporting venues. They can also benefit from access to sports science, medical support and employment opportunities all focussed towards supporting their athlete journey. Applications for the programme are open until February 20th 2020 and athletes from the Cardiff area are urged to apply. Last year, the GLL Sport Foundation supported 95 talented young athletes from Cardiff from a £60,000 fund.

The main award, in memory of former Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan, was presented last year to 14 year old Zoe Backstedt from Llantrisant. Zoe is considered to be one of the hottest prospects in cycling at the moment winning every major championship she enters,. Zoe hopes the support from the GLL Sport Foundation will help her realise her dreams of becoming a professional cyclist.

One of the youngest recipients last year was Rhydian Castle aged 11, a pupil at Ysgol Glantaf.  Rhydian started playing squash at Fairwater Leisure Centre and now absolutely loves the sport and plays up to eight hours of squash a week.  He attends the Squash Wales Academy Squad at Sophia Gardens and has started winning medals.  He is an exceptional player and the grant will help him achieve his aspirations for his future in this sport.

Rhydian said:

The grant from the GLL Sport Foundation will help me to carry on putting in as much time and effort into the sport and enable me to compete both in this country and abroad in the future.”

Rhys Jones, GLL Better Cardiff Manager, commented:

The wealth of young sporting talent within Cardiff’s local communities is truly inspiring. We are delighted to play our part in supporting the development of sporting talent across the city where GLL operates sports and leisure facilities. We believe that the vast majority of the athletes that benefit from the GLL Sport Foundation will give something back to sport and society in a positive way; whether as a future champion inspiring the nation, sports coach, volunteer, fund raiser or as an inspirational role model to other young people to get active and involved in sport”.

GLL recognises the difficulty that many talented athletes face in getting the necessary support to take the next step into elite competition, with 96% of athletes receiving no additional funding. With a massive year of sport coming up, this support will be even more important as many athletes begin to target major honours.”

Applications are open until 20th February 2020 via the website portal – www.gllsportfoundation.org