01/12 - British Champion Rhythmic gymnast Francesca Jones is amongst four British Olympic hopefuls that have been awarded Olympic Solidarity Athlete Scholarships by the International Olympic Committee to help them in their ambition to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Andy Hunt, BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission said: “The Olympic Solidarity funding is a very welcome boost to the athletes concerned and will help to ensure that they have access to the necessary training and preparation on their journey to 2012. In the current financial climate, every little helps and we are pleased that the International Olympic Committee has agreed with our recommendation for these athletes to receive support.”
Francesca Jones (rhythmic gymnastics), Martin Ward (boxing), Stevan Walton (shooting) and Peter Kirkbride (weightlifting) will each receive financial support towards their training and preparation for Olympic participation.
There were 21 applications made by National Governing Bodies in February of this year for the Olympic Solidarity Athlete Scholarships, each NGB selecting Olympic/talent hopefuls of which 16 were submitted by the BOA to the International Olympic Committee in September - and just 4 accepted! British Gymnastics were last represented in this exclusive club pre Sydney, 2000, with Olympian Trampoline gymnasts, Jamie Moore and Lee Brearley.
The four athletes attended a workshop at the British Olympic Association (BOA) Headquarters in London this week where BOA Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt and BOA Director of Sport Clive Woodward spoke with them about how to make the most of their Scholarship award and the importance of competing in line with the Olympic Values of Friendship, Excellence and Respect.
The aspiring Olympians also had the opportunity to ask questions and gain insights and experience from three seasoned Olympic athletes who are now working for the BOA: Ben Hunt-Davis (Sydney 2000 gold medallist - rowing), Georgina Harland (Athens 2004 bronze medallist - modern pentathlon) and Bernie Cotton (Munich 1972 – hockey).
Three of the four athletes showed their potential by winning medals at the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Shooter Stevan Walton claimed gold in both the individual and the pairs men’s double trap competitions, while weightlifter Peter Kirkbride took silver in the 94kg category and Frankie Jones secured silver for Wales in the Hoop event of the rhythmic gymnastics competition. Featherweight boxer Martin Ward also enjoyed a successful 2010 becoming English Champion, building on his European Youth gold medal in 2009.