Joel Clarke-Khan admits he would not have been crowned British champion without Entain Holdings and SportsAid’s support.
The Worcester-based high jump star reigned supreme at the British Athletics Championships after leaping over the bar at 2.18m in Manchester.
Clarke-Khan entered the event in a positive frame of mind and reckons the financial assistance of Entain and SportsAid lay at the heart of that mentality.
“I was in such a good mental state because I was so relaxed because everything went smoothly financially,” said the 20-year-old, one of 50 beneficiaries of Entain’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.
“If I didn’t have SportsAid funding I’d worry about how I’m going to fund my pre-competition massage, travel, hotel, eating, and literally everything.
“I could have turned up with a stressed mind, but having SportsAid to help with opportunities was a blessing and really puts me in a better place.”
Supported by Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, Entain announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid last year to help young athletes realise their potential and promote grassroots sport.
The investment will provide funding for training, travel and equipment and allow athletes access to mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.
Clarke-Khan has been through the wringer in recent years, rupturing his patella tendon in 2018 and enduring a difficult period on the busy athletics circuit.
He doubted if SportsAid or Entain would come back calling but says their continued support has provided an invaluable source of confidence.
“Coming back from a quiet year last year, I wasn’t sure if SportsAid were going to be in contact but when I found out there were, I realise they haven’t lost hope in me yet,” added Clarke-Khan, who is treading the same SportsAid pathway as fellow athletes Sir Mo Farah, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dina Asher-Smith.
“It’s nice to know they still believe in me, and I was able to prove to them that I’m worth believing in.”
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.