Local swimmer receives funding to pursue Olympic dream
One of Britain’s highest potential hopes for future swimming Olympic success has received a £1,000 SportsAid award courtesy of ALEA casino in Nottingham.
Kevin Wallbank, aged 19, who attended Chilwell School and George Spencer Sixth Form in Nottingham, recently experienced national success coming third in the Juniors at the 2014 British Championships. From here, he was selected to represent England at the International Elite Open Championships in Portugal that same year.
But as a student with little international experience to attract sponsorship, Kevin relies solely on his family for financial support. And with on-going costs incurred for travel up and down the country to and from training and competitions, as well as kit, competition fees and general living expenses, plus new pressures rising as Kevin progresses to compete at a senior level against older, more experienced athletes, the support from ALEA Nottingham could not have come at a better time.
Kevin says “I am so very grateful to ALEA Nottingham for their incredibly generous donation which will allow me to pursue my dream of representing Great Britain at senior level competitions such as the World Championships and the Olympic games. Committing to sport at a high level, at a young age, can be a real challenge. This donation will help me make this commitment not only for financial reasons, but thanks to the extra vote of confidence outside my support group, which has given me a real psychological boost.”
Inspired by the Olympic success of multiple medal winning Michael Phelps, Kevin spent at least 18 hours a week training in the pool either at his local swimming club in Long Eaton or for the Elite Swimming Squad at Derventio Excel in Derbyshire before he moved to Loughborough University to study and train equally as vigorously with Loughborough Swimming. He also dedicates a further eight hours to the gym to ensure peak fitness levels. A keen student at Loughborough University, he spends the rest of this time in lectures or studying, leaving him no time to seek employment to support his passion for swimming, in which he invests multiple thousands of pounds over the course of a year.
The donation is part of ALEA Nottingham’s ongoing commitment to SportsAid, a charity that helps young sports people overcome the financial challenges they face in their bid to become Britain’s next generation of sporting heroes. These athletes are typically aged 12 to 18 and are among our brightest hopes for future Olympic and Paralympic success.
Mark Hands, Venue Director at ALEA Nottingham says, “It is incredibly rewarding to be able to praise a local athlete’s tough efforts in the form of funding. Kevin is clearly a very talented young swimmer and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to help him pursue his passion. We take great pride in our charity work, especially when it comes to supporting our local community.”
Chief executive of SportsAid Tim Lawler says, “The donation from ALEA casino is set to help Kevin train harder and compete more effectively so he can put all his efforts into getting the results he needs to move up and realise his potential. It provides the right help and recognition at the right time, enabling SportsAid’s donors to see the impact of their support through the hard work and progress of these young athletes. Caesars Entertainment UK has been amazing, enabling us to provide thousands of pounds worth of donations to support young athletes all over the UK.”
Since 1976, SportsAid has helped many of nation’s most successful sportsmen and women. Some of the best known former SportsAid recipients are Sir Chris Hoy, David Weir CBE, Mo Farah CBE, Dame Sarah Storey, Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, Jonnie Peacock MBE, Tom Daley, Ade Adepitan MBE and Sir Steve Redgrave. The charity’s patron is Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.