Cheyanne Evans-Gray is delighted to be “mingling with the next set of greats” through her place on a SportsAid and Entain Holdings initiative which helps young athletes achieve their potential.
Evans-Gray, a 22-year-old sprinter from Croydon, is part of the latest cohort of 50 sportspeople who will receive funding to help cover training, travel and equipment, as well as mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.
And the Olympic hopeful has already felt the benefit of being part of the programme.
“I was having lower back pains recently and the funding has allowed me to see a chiropractor, who is really helping me fix my posture,” she said.
“Those corrections will help my running, and the money is also going towards physio, supplements I need and kit.”
Team GB stars such as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Mo Farah are among the stellar cast of names to have received SportsAid support in the past – along with one of Evans-Gray’s role models.
“I remember watching Dina Asher-Smith in Rio, which was amazing,” Evans-Gray said.
“For her to get to an Olympic final and perform so well was really inspiring and a game-changer for British sprinting.
“It’s a bit surreal seeing my name there (on SportsAid’s alumni) but it’s a special feeling. It feels like I’m mingling among the next set of greats.”
The initiative is part of multi-million-pound grassroots sport investment programme Pitching In, established by Entain – where Evans-Gray has a unique day-to-day insight.
“I am a customer service manager at Ladbrokes in Croydon,” explained Evans-Gray, who juggles her work and training commitments with studying Sports Science at the University of East London.
“It keeps me close to all the sports and I love dealing with the customers and having conversations with them.”
Evans-Gray returned to athletics aged 20, having taken several breaks from sprinting growing up, and broke a 13-year British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) record in February when she stormed to indoor 60m victory in 7.28 seconds.
The coronavirus pandemic denied her the opportunity to build on that performance in the outdoor season but Evans-Gray has not let that dent her ambitions.
“Every athlete’s ultimate goal is to be the best at Olympic level,” she said.
“I would love to go and compete in the Olympics and get on the podium.
“A bit more short-term, I’m looking to compete in the World Championships in 2022. That would be my first big event and I feel I have the potential to get there.”
Entain is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, Entain are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.