Norfolk’s rising stars speak of their Olympic dreams

London 2012 may come too soon for some of these young talented athletes, but they are lining up to be Norfolk's Olympic stars of the future.

Twenty young people are this year being provided with funding by Norfolk County Council as Rising Stars, as part of the council's Sports and Cultural Foundation.

The Foundation was set up in 2008 with a guaranteed �35,000 grant each year from the council and many of the young people have been receiving funding since the foundation was established.

The grants they are receiving range from �1,000 per year to �5,000, helping them to train, learn, be better equipped and better supported in their area of expertise in the run up to London 2012.

The council has also actively sought private sector funding to increase the number of talented 14 to 25 year olds who can be assisted, with the Norse Group once again donating funds this year.


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With the selection process in many sports yet to take place, some of Norfolk's hopefuls, including archer Tom Barber and canoeist Tim Pendle, have their eyes firmly focused on London 2012.

Others, including track cyclist Victoria Williamson, will still get the chance to compete on the world stage at senior level next year.

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And the rest will be looking towards 2016 for their moment to shine.

James Carswell, cabinet member for cultural services at County Hall, said: 'It's great to see that we are helping young rising stars. Sport is a very important part of this county and hopefully people will see that councils and local authorities are helping to support young people and will take up their sport and continue doing it.'

Tim Pendle, 22, from Norwich, kayak racer.

2011 has been a strong season for the 22-year-old team GB kayak racer. He took a bronze medal in the U23 Mens K1 at the World Championships in Singapore in October and has spent the year training with the GB team at Dorney Lake, Eton.

He is hoping to get selected for the team for London 2012. He said: 'There are three spots up for grabs for the Olympics and I'm currently sixth in the country so I've got to make a bit of a jump to get better but going to the Olympics would be a dream come true.'

Felicity Foulds, 20, from Tunstead, sail racer.

Now 20, Felicity has been sailing since she was six-years-old. She got called up to the recent European Championship but due to financial reasons was unable to attend. The Southampton Solent University student now has her eyes firmly on Rio 2016. 'It would be amazing because I've worked so hard,' she said.

Tom Barber, 20, from Harleston, archer

With Olympic trials in April, the team GB archer is hoping to qualify for the 2012 Games. He recently competed at world cup level and is working to a six month plan. '2012 is still a really possibility,' he said. 'If I continue to improve the way I have been then I feel absolutely confident I will make the team.'

Victoria Williamson, 18, from Hevingham, track sprint cyclist.

The Norwich High School for Girls schoolgirl is ranked second in the world for her age and has won medals at both European and World level.

Unfortunately, there is only one spot up for grabs at the Olympics in her event - most likely to be taken by Victoria Pendleton - but the teenager will still get the chance to make her senior debut at world level when she competes in a world cup event in Beijing in January.

She said: 'It will be a great experience, definitely.'

Callum Brown, 16, from North Walsham, hammer thrower.

At just 16, Callum is already ranked as number one in the UK at under 18 for hammer throwing and number 11 in the world. He was recently called up to the GB squad. The City of Norwich Athletics Club member said: 'When I went to the World Youth Championships, it was something completely new to me. I had never seen anyone throw as far as what they did. It makes you want to push yourself further.'

Jamie Fisher, 17, from Corpusty, archer.

Together with sister Abbie, Jamie has been shooting for six or seven years. The 6ft 5in Reepham College student is now ranked fifth in the UK for his age and recently qualified for the world championships.

He said: 'There's a chance I could go to the selection shoot for the Olympics, I've been long-listed, so it will be a good experience and then to make it to 2016 would be amazing.'

Abbie Fisher, 16, from Corpusty, archer.

Younger sister of Jamie, Abbie followed her brother's footsteps into the sport. She also attends Reepham College and was fourth in recent British Senior Target Championships. She is also targeting Rio 2016.

She said: 'I love the adrenaline of the sport. You can achieve whatever you want to in the sport and you get as much out of it as what you put in.'

Miles Garner, 17, from Norwich, swimmer.

Miles was the only male Norfolk swimmer to qualify for the British Championships and is ranked in the top 25 in the UK for 200m butterfly.

He will be heading to the Olympic trials in April but is looking more towards 2016.

The City of Norwich School pupil trains nine times a week. He said: 'I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from winning championships.'

For more pictures, go to www.eveningnews24.co.uk.

Don't miss the latest edition of our Olympics supplement London Calling on December 28. For latest Olympic news, go to the London Calling section on our website www.eveningnews24.co.uk.

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