COUNTY SPORT: LEAP joy for Spalding trio

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THREE talented teenagers from Spalding have been welcomed into the Lincolnshire Elite Athlete Programme (LEAP).

Swimmer Marcus Cook (15), long-distance athlete Charlotte Taylor (16) and disabled swimmer Sophie Taylor (14) were all inducted into the LEAP at the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme Campus last Friday.

The LEAP is a programme managed by Lincolnshire Sports Partnership which provides funding and support for talented athletes in the county who are hoping to compete at an Olympic or Paralympic Games.

Great Britain Olympic cyclist Bryan Steel presented the athletes with a certificate and Great Britain wheelchair basketball player Richard Sargent hosted the evening.

Rachel Belcher, LEAP Project Officer at Lincolnshire Sports Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have so many athletes from Spalding on LEAP this year and look forward to seeing how they progress throughout the next 12 months.

“LEAP hopes to give athletes across the county access to funding and support at Lincolnshire Sports Partnership, so we really hope that all three athletes from Spalding benefit from this.”

The LEAP programme is designed to co-ordinate the support for talented sports people from Lincolnshire.

The current UK sports system provides funding for top end elite performers through Lottery funding, but the tier below that has what could be best described as ‘patchwork’ support. LEAP offers a better, more consistent level of support to that level of performer.