Three up-and-coming teenage sports stars have been helped on the road to future sporting success with a £750 SportsAid Award each from the Bucks SportsAid Foundation.
Boxer Jamal Khan, swimmer Connie Dean and sailor Alex Smallwood were all presented with their awards on Friday (13 November) by legendary rugby commentator Ian Robertson, who was fresh from this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Speaking at the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club at Dorney Lake, Ian kept an audience of more than 150 local business people entertained with anecdotes and stories from his lengthy career commentating around the world.
Fifteen-year-old Jamal, from Cressex, High Wycombe, fights in the 52kg weight category and for the last three years he has taken home the GB Schoolboys Three Nations title. Having won a bronze medal at the European Championships in Hungary last year, Jamal is currently fighting in the well-respected NABC Championships, which aims to find the best 15-18 year old boxers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Having started boxing at nine and with an ambition to become world champion and emulate his heroes Amir Khan and Muhammed Ali, he has already been tipped by his coach for future Olympic glory.
Maidenhead swimmer Connie Dean, 17, trains twice a day, chalking up 16-18 hours in the pool every week and now specialises in the individual medley over both 200m and 400m.
A member of the Maidenhead Marlins swimming club, together with her coach, Connie has her eye on both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Olympics.
In 2014, she was selected to train with the England swimming team in Portugal and successes so far include a second place in her age group in the national trials and achieving the qualifying standard for the European Championships.
Sixteen-year-old Alex Smallwood, from Amersham, started sailing at the tender age of five and was entering competitions by the time he was 11. His prowess on the water was soon spotted, winning him a place on an accelerated sailing training programme and he has already competed internationally, gaining valuable experience at the junior championships in Bulgaria last year.
Based at Datchet Sailing Club, he currently competes in the 420 class and is looking forward to next Easter’s selection trials for the British team, where he is hoping good results will enable him to compete in the European and World Championships. In the future, he is keen to move up to the 470 class to enable him to aim for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Thanking members of the Bucks Sporting Lunch Club, all three recipients said the grant will go towards funding travel and accommodation expenses for competitions, as well as buying additional sporting equipment.
David MacGregor, of Marlow-based TSL, one of the sponsors, said: “It is an honour and privilege to be able to assist the three recipients in achieving their sporting goal. All the members and sponsors of The Bucks Sporting Lunch Club wish them success in the future. We will follow their careers with great interest.”
More than £6,400 was raised at the lunch, which is supported by local Buckinghamshire based businesses wishing to contribute to the success of the county’s top young athletes.
Fellow sponsors are solicitors B P Collins LLP, Harwood Hutton accountants, 2hWealthcare, Jansons Property, S&C Slatter, Evolution International and Leap.