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Promising young athletes suffering hardship to receive thousands in funding for sporting career

PUBLISHED: 12:34 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:34 10 April 2019

Runner Serena Grace, 15, is one of three young athletes to receive funding from the Ron Harrod Foundation. Picture: Courtesy of Harrod Sport

Runner Serena Grace, 15, is one of three young athletes to receive funding from the Ron Harrod Foundation. Picture: Courtesy of Harrod Sport

Harrod Sport

Three young people who face hardship in their day-to-day life will receive thousands of pounds of funding to support their sporting career.

Paralympic swimmer Jordan Catchpole. Picture : ANTONY KELLYParalympic swimmer Jordan Catchpole. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The talented athletes from Norfolk and Suffolk have been chosen to receive £5,000 through the Lowestoft-based Harrod Sport’s Ron Harrod Foundation.

One of those lucky winners is 15-year-old runner Serena Grace, who was nominated by her single mother Vanessa Butcher.

Serena began competing aged just 10 and in the last five years has represented the City of Norwich Athletics Club, breaking the 300m county championship record which has been unbeaten since the early 1990s - before she was even born.

But it has not been a smooth-running experience for the talented young athlete as her mother could only afford to buy her secondhand shoes and equipment.

Skier Kieran Mitchell, 11, is one of three young athletes to receive funding from the Ron Harrod Foundation. Picture: Courtesy of Harrod SportSkier Kieran Mitchell, 11, is one of three young athletes to receive funding from the Ron Harrod Foundation. Picture: Courtesy of Harrod Sport

Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo, who announced the winners of the funding, said: “Without foundations such as The Ron Harrod Foundation, young athletes like Serena would not have the financial support to be the best that they can be.”

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Kieran Mitchell, 11, a skier from Taverham, was nominated by his father Dale who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS).

He said: “The main challenges for us are the funding of all the equipment Kieran needs, the different dry slope training camps and races in the UK he requires to keep him at a competitive level.

“He would not have been able to train and compete abroad without the help of this funding.”

The final winner to benefit from the funding is UEA City of Norwich Swimming Club’s para-swimmer Jordan Catchpole, 19, who has been diagnosed with autism and learning difficulties.

He dropped out of school aged 14 but has gone on to win gold in the 100m backstroke for the Great Britain team at the Japan Open Para Championship.

He said: “I haven’t had time to celebrate yet because I’m in heavy training at the moment - but I will. It feels good to be recognised and believed in It makes all the hard work seem even more worthwhile.

“My main aim in 2019 is to qualify for this year’s world championships in April and compete in September, I am targeting the podium again.”

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