Royal Bank of Canada continues strong support of Britain's sporting future with SportsAid

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) welcomed a group of Britain's most exciting young sports stars to its Riverbank House offices in London yesterday (28 March) as they were inducted into the bank’s class of 2017 with SportsAid. RBC, one of the largest banks in the world and a partner of SportsAid since 2014, provides 50 up-and-coming athletes with financial assistance and mentoring each year.
29 March, 2017
Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) welcomed a group of Britain's most exciting young sports stars to its Riverbank House offices in London yesterday (28 March) as they were inducted into the bank’s class of 2017 with SportsAid. RBC, one of the largest banks in the world and a partner of SportsAid since 2014, provides 50 up-and-coming athletes with financial assistance and mentoring each year.

The partnership sees each athlete receive an annual £1,000 award which contributes towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment. This year’s Team RBC athletes stretch across 31 disabled and non-disabled disciplines. They are among the country’s brightest prospects having been nominated to SportsAid by their sport’s national governing bodies.

Overlooking the River Thames, the reception saw Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Capital Markets– Europe, and Tim Lawler, SportsAid’s Chief Executive, address the athletes, who were joined by their parents, about the partnership between the two organisations, and the benefits and recognition they would receive as highly-valued members of Team RBC.

“RBC’s support of young athletes is incredibly important,” said Dave. “They are under tremendous pressure with the amount of time they have to put into their training, the travelling they do, being away from family and friends, and trying to fit in school work and education. The funds required to train and compete is one of the major challenges they face and hopefully our donations help the athletes on the way to achieving their potential."

Tim commented: “RBC is an exemplar partner for SportsAid. When we first started this partnership we would mention in dispatches other corporate partners that we’d worked with and their ideas for engagement. RBC has run with it, put on their own spin and moved things on. We now find its RBC we mention in our communication with partners! There is a real personal commitment to the partnership and that's shown in the pride Team RBC has in these young athletes.”

Shortly afterwards, two Q&A sessions were held back-to-back as Team RBC athletes gave an insight into how their careers are progressing and the ambitions they have for the future. Wheelchair racer Sheikh Sheikh, who competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m across the T54 category, has been supported by RBC through SportsAid since the partnership’s inception.

“It’s always in my head that I’m pushing [to achieve in sport] for SportsAid, to raise awareness of such a wonderful cause, and also for the members of RBC who do so much to provide for us as athletes,” said Sheikh, who is aiming to compete at the IPC 2017 World Championships in London. “When I’m on the track, all I’m thinking about is performing at my best because people are taking the time to support me. I always want to give back to them.”

Sheikh was joined by modern pentathlete Alexandra Bousfield and twins Cheriece and Shannon Hylton, who are both sprinters on the track over 100m, 200m and 400m, before skier Will Feneley and judoka Showgo Kimura took to the stage to talk about the RBC buddy scheme and how it has helped to develop them both as individuals as well as athletes.

“It’s a great personal connection you can have through the buddy scheme,” said Will. “When I’m away and competing, it’s hard to keep up with everything so my mum stays in touch with Clyde [Muir from RBC] over email so he knows how I’m doing. I’d definitely say to other athletes to get involved as it’s good to have another person outside of your family and your sport. The support they can give you is great and any issues you may have you can talk them about it.”

Dan Ellis, MD, Head of Investments, RBC Wealth Management – International, said it was “always inspiring to meet athletes first-hand” as he closed proceedings. He added: “At RBC we have a concept called ‘Collective Ambition’ which defines our values but equally our purpose. One of those is to see our clients thrive and our communities prosper, and I can think of no greater testament to that than to say we are helping our sports people of the future.”

RBC's partnership with SportsAid is part of the bank’s global five-year Kid’s Pledge, a $100 million commitment to help one million young people around the world. RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities, with annual European initiatives including the RBC Race for the Kids in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

Here is the list of RBC's athlete intake for 2017:

Ethan Akanni, 18, Welling (Athletics)
Shadine Duquemin, 22, Loughborough (Athletics)
Cheriece Hylton, 20, Mottingham (Athletics)
Shannon Hylton, 20, Mottingham (Athletics)
Spencer Thomas, 19, Hove (Athletics)
Max Flynn, 18, Thatcham (Badminton)
Abigail Holden, 17, Wokingham (Badminton)
Max Asher, 17, Billericay (Baseball)
Charles Frankham, 17, Crowthorne (Boxing)
Piers Oliphant, 17, Newbury (Canoeing)
Charlie Dean, 16, Waterlooville (Cricket)
Louis Bilyard, 15, Enfield (Cycling)
Maddie Wadsworth, 15, Abingdon (Cycling)
Faye Olszowka, 16, Bexleyheath (Disability Athletics)
Eden Rainbow-Cooper, 15, Waterlooville (Disability Athletics)
Sheikh Sheikh, 21, Wembley (Disability Athletics)
Byron Down , 18, Chelmsford (Disability Football)
Alfred Brown, 14, Cranleigh (Diving)
Emily Martin, 16, Southampton (Diving)
Miri Taylor, 17, Gillingham (Football)
Miriam Pritchard, 18, Oxford (Hockey)
Jack Turner, 19, Maidenhead (Hockey)
Conor Gough, 14, Slough (Golf)
Martha Lewis, 17, Weybridge (Golf)
Niamh Andrews, 17, Forest Row (Gymnastics)
Joshua Newman, 18, Noak Bridge (Gymnastics)
Showgo Kimura, 17, Whetstone (Judo)
Shelley Ludford, 18, Basingstoke (Judo)
Hannah Thurston, 17, Ealing (Lacrosse)
Alexandra Bousfield, 16, Tring (Modern pentathlon)
Jasmin Odeogberin, 16, Snaresbrook (Netball)
Drew Walker, 25, Waltham Cross (Para Cycling)
Ilse Owen, 15, Great Kingshill (Para Equestrian)
Finlay Middleton, 15, Winston (Para Swimming)
Celia Matthews, 17, Richmond (Rowing)
Jakes Offiler, 16, London (Rowing)
George Robinson Ranger, 16, Henley-on-Thames (Rowing)
Luke James, 17, Eastbourne (Rugby Union - men)
Rosanna Moynihan, 18, Baldock (Rugby Union - women)
Zac West, 15, Farnham (Sailing)
Megan Ferguson, 15, Hook (Sailing)
Natasha Nemeth-King, 17, Oxford (Short-Track Speed Skating)
Will Feneley, 17, Shereford (Skiing)
Tom Walsh, 17, Hove (Squash)
Jack Draper, 15, Ashtead (Tennis)
Francesca Jones, 16, Hindhead (Tennis)
Javier Bello, 16, Isleworth (Volleyball)
Anna Keefe, 16, London (Volleyball)
Chris Murray, 18, Guildford (Weightlifting)
Harry Langley, 21, Bromley (Wheelchair Rugby)

PHOTO CREDIT - SPORTSBEAT/ROBERTO PAYNE

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