Budding Isle of Wight sports stars are being urged to sign up to the Isle of Wight Council’s Talented Athlete Programme.

The scheme has benefited a number of sporting stars in the past, including athletics 10,000 metres star, Jessica Andrews (now Martin), who competed at the Rio Olympics; hammer athlete Andrew Frost, who competed in both 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and Nicholas Percy, discus athlete who is currently Britain’s number two.

The aim is to help gifted sports people reach their full potential and achieve further success by providing discounted access to a whole host of services.

Talented athletes who meet the scheme’s criteria will also be able to use the council’s leisure centres free of charge and receive discounts in selected local retailers, physio and chiropractic services, as well as discounted travel on Wightlink.

Last year’s programme helped more than 70 athletes, aged from eight to 80 representing 21 sports.

Lee Matthews, the council’s recreation and open spaces manager, says applications for the 2020 scheme are now being accepted:

“The scheme seeks to give support and encouragement to our home-grown sportsmen and sportswomen of all ages so they can achieve the very best they can without having to worry about the costs of using leisure facilities or travelling around the Island and to the mainland.

“I would urge our home-grown stars to take advantage of the scheme and I would also like to thank our sponsorship partners for coming on board again and helping us to continue to support Island future athletic stars.”

The council is able to offer:

• discounted Wightlink travel
• free access to the council’s 1Leisure facilities at Medina, the Heights and Westridge
• up to 20 per cent off sports equipment (through our sponsors).

To check your eligibility against the current criteria and to obtain an application pack, please visit: www.iwight.com/sportsunit

The application process closes on 2 February 2020 and the successful applicants will be notified in February. The scheme is applicable to Isle of Wight residents only.