When netballer Shelby Harris was told that she would never play for England, she was all the more determined to prove her coach wrong.
Having made it through to the under-21 reserves in the national set-up, the Worthing star is edging ever closer to gaining that first international cap.
And her chances have recently been given a massive boost, thanks to a new nationwide funding initiative.
Managed by charity SportsAid, Sport England’s Backing The Best programme aims to support talented young athletes who would face difficulties progressing through their sport’s talent development system without critical financial help.
Athletes across the country were supported during the programme’s first term in 2016, producing world, European and national age-group level champions.
And Durrington High School pupil Harris, who plays for Energy Club in Worthing, is one of those named among the recent intake of athletes will receive an annual award of up to £5,000 to help with essential costs such as travel, accommodation and kit.
The netballer will also benefit from extra support from coaches and physios as she aims to progress in the sport and an ecstatic Harris admits that the funds will be used to help pay for her travel costs.
Harris said: “I’m really happy.
“This scheme is going to help me a lot with training and going to and from training, it is hard to get to training because it can be quite expensive travelling round the country but Backing The Best will give me that chance to travel to every training and help improve my performance so much.
“I can train a lot more and learn a lot more and will help me play against people from higher levels. I was so thrilled when I found out.”
Backing The Best is helping young talented athletes facing the greatest financial pressure to pursue their sporting ambitions. The programme, managed by SportsAid for Sport England, is supported by National Lottery funding.Visit www.sportengland.org/our-work/talent/backing-the-best/ for more information
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