Funding from Entain Holdings and SportsAid is helping cycling prospect Georgia Holt as she balances her Olympic dreams with studying for a degree.
Holt, 20, is entering the final year of a Biomedical Sciences degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and admitted juggling the two can be difficult.
“Sometimes, when there’s a two-hour lecture on something quite difficult like genetics, I then go to training with my brain already frazzled,” she said.
“The mental toll of it takes it out your legs quite a lot, which I never expected it to.
“But it’s doable and in many ways it’s a blessing as it gives me another focus – the two give each other a break.
“I’m a scholar with the Uni and the support from Entain is really helpful as I’m not on the squad yet so don’t get the funding – and a student loan doesn’t stretch that far.”
The three-year programme was Launched in 2019 with the support of Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, Entain’s three-year partnership with SportsAid and helps young athletes across the UK each year realise their potential.
And Holt, a former Eventer who only began cycling competitively aged 18 following the results from a Talent ID day, has already seen the benefits over lockdown as she prepares for her Great Britain trials in October.
“The funding has already helped me with bits of equipment,” she said.
“If things like my road bike handlebars or tape need changing, I can use my funding for that.
“It is also a great help for nutrition and track time, which is £10-15 a session, so with three sessions a week that can add up. It’s little things that I can say ‘that’s not coming out the student loan’ and can budget elsewhere, which really eases any stress.”
Hopeful of competitions resuming in the foreseeable future, Holt is now looking to follow in the footsteps of some of British cycling’s household names who have also benefitted from SportsAid support.
“I was reading through the SportsAid alumni and thought ‘oh my goodness’. It’s just madness,” she said.
“I really look up to Victoria Pendleton. One of the British Cycling staff once said I remined them of her – she’s my idol so that was amazing to hear.
“I cried when I saw Jason Kenny for the first time. I was so overwhelmed, he’s like a Greek God – but then you speak to him and he’s so down to earth.
“I want to replicate what they have done – ultimately, my goal is to be a triple world and Olympic champion.”
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.