After Team England recently announced the five recipients of the Sir John Hanson Young Talent Scholarship, we caught up with triple jumper, Abazz Shayaam-Smith, to find out her reaction to the news.
“Having to balance university, finance and training is very hard,” Shayaam-Smith, 19, said. “So having that financial support from the Hanson Scholarship is going to help me a lot, especially in terms of nutrition, recovery, physio and strength and conditioning.”
Alongside the U20 England Triple Jump Champion, Kelly Peterson-Pollard (judo), Lucy Turmel (squash), Kieran Rollings (para lawn bowls) and Abigail Burton (rugby sevens) were the other recipients of the £10,000 funding.
With Birmingham 2022 now less than three years away, the extra funding will support the five athletes in achieving their sporting goals.
“It’s mostly a boost of confidence, it shows that Team England really believe in me as an athlete and as a young person, and it means they are supporting me to the Commonwealth Games, and I think that’s important because it’s been my dream for the past three years. But now with the help of this scholarship, I’m confident I can make this dream come true.
As a Birchfield Harrier athlete, Shayaam-Smith has been competing at The Alexander Stadium since the age of 13, and after receiving the scholarship she feels like her journey towards competing at a home Commonwealth Games is written in the stars.
“The first thing I thought of when I received the scholarship was when my mum said, “You know, you’re going to be 22 in 2022”, and I just thought this is meant to be.
I’m blessed in the fact that my career should be reaching a peak right when I’ve got the opportunity to perform at a home games. And it’s not even like it’s in London either, it’s in Birmingham. I think that’s really important.”
Shayaam-Smith was one of over 70 athletes who applied for the funding from Team England, showing the huge selection of promising young stars that could be on show at Birmingham 2022.