Sky Sports has launched a new scholarship scheme which is to support 12 athletes from Britain and Ireland over the next three years, including track and field athlete Holly Bleasdale, middle distance runner Jessica Judd, gymnast Sam Oldham and boxer Jason Quigley.
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.
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.
Holly Bleasdale holds the British record in the pole vault, and has won medals including European indoor gold and world indoor bronze.