A 16-year-old fencer and former King’s College School pupil will receive cash towards his training as part of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative.
WIMBLEDON fencer James Allen’s dream of representing GB on the Olympic stage were given a helping hand after he was handpicked to join the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative.
The 16-year-old former King’s College School pupil will receive a cash injection of £1,000 to help with the cost of training and competing after being one of only 250 youngsters picked from across the UK.
Allen also attended the London launch of the initiative in Roehampton last week, where he received masterclasses with former British Olympians Iwan Thomas, Leon Taylor and Mark Foster on food, nutrition, media and training.
And Allen insisted rubbing shoulders with the likes of five-time Olympian Foster was all the inspiration he needed to follow in the footsteps of the Beijing flag-bearer.
“This is my first time on the Lloyds Local Heroes scheme and it’s absolutely great to have been chosen and to meet so many Olympians,” said Allen.
“I have got my GCSE’s coming up but once they are out of the way I’ll be using the funding to help my training.
“It’s difficult to strike the balance between training and work so hopefully the scheme will help me manage that a little bit better.
“Being selected is absolutely fantastic because it shows that people believe in you and it is a great boost to your confidence.”
Allen took part in the Junior World Championships in Belfast at the start of April, reaching the last 64 in the cadet individual while being part of the under-21 team that finished 15th overall.
And with that experience of major competition under his belt – Allen insists the only way is up as he bids to be part of the London games just over three years time.
“I was hoping to do a little bit better in the competition over in Belfast but it didn’t go quite to plan,” said Allen.
“But it was a great experience and hopefully I can really pick it up now and improve in the future.
“Going to tournaments can cost around £300 – £500 for each event so the funding will definitely help with that.”
Lloyds TSB is providing £1,000 to over 250 emerging young sportspeople identified each year across Britain, in the run up to London 2012 and beyond.