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Lichfield duo named among Britain’s top 50 brightest sporting talents

Young athletes from Lichfield have been given a boost after being awarded bursaries to aid their sporting development.

Cyclist Sophie Capewell and netball player Laura Massey are among 50 of British sport’s brightest junior sportspeople to be awarded the £2,000 sports development funding by the Jaguar Academy of Sport.

Sophie Capewell

Sophie Capewell

As well as the funding, the young stars will be entered onto a programme designed to help them reach the top, with a focus on areas such as media training.

Sophie, 14, received her award from Sir Chris Hoy, and said the funding would help her to meet the cost of travelling to training venues and purchasing specialist equipment.

“I’m at school between 8.30am and 3.15pm during the week,” Sophie explained. “Weekends are usually spent racing or training.

“Usually I do four days of training or racing on the bike of between six and eightand I also travel to Birmingham one day a week to do one-and-a-half hours of gym work.”

The 50 brightest young talents were selected after a rigorous examination by SportsAid, a charity supporting junior sporting talent who are also administering the bursary programme.

Lauren, 19, began playing netball after catching the bug for the sport from her mum who coached her primary school team.

Lauren Massey

Lauren Massey

And she believes the support will help her build on a blossoming career that has already seen her selected for the England U19 and U21 squads.

“The funding has been a massive help to me,” she added.

“It has meant that I have had the appropriate money to attend all my training, ensure I have the right kit and equipment and also I have not had to worry about getting a job to pay for these things.

“With so much training and university commitments it is almost impossible for me to fit in time for a job and without this pressure I feel my performance can improve.”

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