Team England has selected five young athletes who will receive the Sir John Hanson Young Talent Scholarship to help them on their progression towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The winners of the scholarship are Abigail Burton (rugby 7s), Kelly Petersen-Pollard (judo), Kieran Rollings (para lawn bowls) Lucy Turmel (squash) and Tom Jarvis (table tennis)
With a home Games in Birmingham in 2022, each athlete striving to compete at the Games will receive £50,000 between them, to support them in achieving their sporting goals.
Kieran Rollings made his Team England debut in para lawn bowls at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. He became the youngest ever English lawn bowls competitor, playing in the para-triples event at just 18-years-old.
Placing fourth on the Gold Coast has spurred Rollings on to go further. He said:
“I’m over the moon to be selected. It will help me train and perform 100 times better and I’m looking forward to the next couple of years. With the help of the scholarship, I’ll definitely be looking for my place at the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and after the experience of the Gold Coast in 2018 I’ll be looking for that prestigious gold medal.”
Rollings is the only athlete selected who has had the experience of competing at a Commonwealth Games. For the other four winners, the funding is designed to give them an opportunity to progress through to the Team England selections, boosting their chances to compete for the nation on home soil in 2022.
Kelly Petersen-Pollard is from the West Midlands and is relishing the opportunity of the Games coming so close to home.
Nineteen-year-old judoka from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Petersen-Pollard, has already achieved three silver European medals this year. She said:
“It means so much to be part of Team England and to be given this opportunity and funding to perform to the highest of my capabilities. Being part of this scholarship programme motivates me for my early years of becoming a senior and will allow me to travel and compete, gaining vital experience to push me to the next level and hopefully qualify for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in my home town of Birmingham.”
Lucy Turmel, a squash player from Ipswich, Suffolk, is mentored by Commonwealth silver medallist Laura Massaro. Turmel has seen national success with winning a number of British titles as well as taking the European junior crown in 2018. She said:
“I’m very grateful to have been awarded this grant and opportunity. People believing in my aspirations is so important and I’ll do my upmost to reach my potential and goals".
Abigail Burton, from Castleford, joined the England women’s sevens programme in June 2018 and made her debut in the World Sevens Series in October the same year. Burton said:
“This opportunity to be part of the Hanson Scholarship is amazing and actually mind blowing. It means everything to me to have this kind of support for the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will be on home soil in England! This also give me the opportunity to continue funding my studies as well as rugby helping me balance an athlete student lifestyle which is key for me.”
Table tennis player Tom Jarvis from Skegness left home at the age of 16 to train in Sweden for four years. The highest ranked U21 player in England has competed at various international championships and was a travelling reserve for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jarvis said:
“The Sir John Hanson scholarship is a really exclusive programme, so I’m honoured that my hard work and potential has been noticed. It’s a really exciting project to be part of and I’m looking forward to receiving all of the support that comes with it.”
In a tough competition to be part of the programme, Team England received over 70 full applications that met the selection criteria and were supported by sporting Governing bodies.
The athletes will also embark on an education programme to support them on their journey.
The £50,000 award was made possible by a private donation from former British diplomat Sir John Hanson.
Sport: Rugby Sevens
DOB: 09/03/2000 (19)
Hometown: Castleford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
- Joined the England Women’s Sevens programme in June 2018
- Debut on the World Sevens Series in October 2018
- Captained U18 Hartpury side
- Represented England and won the title in U18 European Championships
DOB: 30/04/1999 (19)
Hometown: Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham
- GB Part Time Elite Development Squad
- GB JNR (U21) Ranking: 1st Under 70kg
- 1st British Junior Championships 2018
- 1st British Senior Championships 2018
- 3 European Silver medals in achieved so far in 2019
Sport: Lawn Bowls (para)
DOB: 02/12/1999 (19)
Hometown: Kettering, Northamptonshire
- Youngest ever English lawn bowls competitor for the CWG on the Gold Coast
- 4th in para-triples on the Gold Coast
- Disability Bowls England National Single and Pairs titles
- Junior Inter County Trophy
- Bowls England ‘Young Bowler of the Year’
DOB: 24/09/1999 (19)
Hometown: Ipswich, Suffolk
- Multiple British and National Junior champion
- European Junior Champion
- Bronze medal at the World Junior Squash Championships and British Open
- Had first senior call up
- Mentored by Laura Massaro
Sport: Table tennis
DOB: 01/12/1999 (19)
Hometown: Skegness, Lincolnshire
- In top four in Great Britain
- Represented England in the World Championships - Budapest 2019 and progressed to the 4th round with two unexpected wins
- Travelling reserve for Rio 2016 Olympic Games
- Singles Bronze medal in Commonwealth Championships 2019
- Quarter-finals of U18 and U21 Europeans in 2017
- Under 21s – 11th in World and 7th in Europe