A champion snowboarder from Steyning will benefit from a sponsorship deal as he joins QTS Group’s successful Youth Athlete Programme.
Steyning's Charlie Lane will be one of five young English athletes who will receive sponsorship from the leading rail infrastructure contractor, which has run its successful Youth Athlete Programme in Scotland since 2014.
The sponsorship will support the 12-year-old as he embarks on a full-time, six-month training programme in the Austrian Alps in preparation for competing in the older age groups at top European and World events.
It will enable Charlie to work with the best junior freestyle snowboarders and coaches as he continues to train six days a week, as well as allowing him to travel to competitions across Europe.
A keen skier from a young age, Charlie was just five years old when he first tried snowboarding on a family holiday, after watching his older brother Ben on the slopes.
His parents soon recognised his natural talent and after returning home, continued to take Charlie to Hemel Hempstead Indoor Snow Centre, a three hour round trip each Thursday and Friday evening, to allow him to practice in a freestyle snow park.
At the age of eight, Charlie began competing competitively and came second in the British Under 12s Boardercross event in Manchester, the first of many national competitions.
He started full-time coaching in January 2015 and moved to Zillertal Valley in Austria for three months with his team Why Ain’t You Jibbin, opening up the opportunity to compete in European events against other nations.
Over the last two winter seasons, Charlie has been crowned King of the Valley, a four stop tour across Austria where he competed against other European snowboarders.
To retain his position as one of Europe’s leading junior snowboarders in all disciplines, Charlie follows a full fitness programme, including off season training, in preparation for the
top snowboarding events like the World Rookie Tour events held across Europe.
His ultimate goal is to become a professional snowboarder and to be selected to represent his nation in the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Charlie’s dad Peter said: “From the first time Charlie tried snowboarding at the age of five, he has not only shown a natural talent for the sport, but also a passion to progress this as a
“He has always shown such determination and commitment, with all the sacrifices that he has had to endure and being away from home for so much time, we are really proud of his
attitude to his sport.
“The decision for Charlie to turn full-time for the winter season will massively benefit his development and with the sponsorship from QTS Group, we will be able to cover additionalcosts for top coaching and travel.
“For Charlie to be associated with a fantastic company like QTS Group is a huge honour, especially as they truly understand the importance of supporting young talent at the grass
roots stage, when its particularly crucial and often harder to come by.”
QTS launched its Youth Athlete Programme in England this year and will support five individual athletes across a range of sporting disciplines including beach volleyball, snowboarding and hammer throwing.
The programme also supports 10 athletes in Scotland, five of which joined the programme in January this year.
Alan McLeish, Managing Director of The QTS Group, said: “Charlie’s commitment to his sport from such a young age is evidence of his passion for snowboarding. Through the Youth Athlete Programme, we hope to nurture this dedication and encourage him to achieve his ambitions over the next year.
“We first started the Youth Athlete Programme in Scotland four years ago to support aspiring grassroots athletes across a huge number of sporting disciples and have successfully helped 16 athletes to date.
“Following its success, we wanted to launch the programme in England amongst the communities where we are based and it’s an honour to support some of the country’s rising young sporting talent.”
To find out more about the QTS Youth Athlete Programme, please visit https://www.qtsgroup.com/strategic-partnerships/youth-athletes