Hockey starlet Katie Jones believes her new funding and support from Entain and SportsAid is a timely boost to her confidence amidst a tricky year.
The talented teenager is a beneficiary of Entain’s three-year partnership with the sports charity, helping young talent across the UK realise their potential.
Athletes get funding for training, travel and equipment, as well as mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.
Time on the pitch has been limited this year due to the coronavirus pandemic but Jones is looking to hit the ground running when the return finally comes.
“It’s really nice to have the support, I wasn’t expecting Entain and SportsAid to reach out to me so it came as a pleasant surprise,” she said.
“Because my parents take me everywhere, it gives me a chance to give back to them having relied on them to take me to training and matches for such a long time.
“Travelling to games takes a lot more expense than you think so I’m grateful to have that support to help fund those.
“Kit costs can add up as well so it’s nice not to rely on my parents as much. I can give a bit back.
“It’s nice to know that people do think I can potentially reach the top, it’s really nice to know and gives me a lot of confidence in my career, especially while we haven’t had much chance to show what we can do recently.”
The young athletes will be following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds OBE – all of whom received SportsAid support – and more recent beneficiaries including Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE.
The initiative is part of Entain’s Pitching In, a major new multi-million-pound investment programme designed to support and promote grassroots sports.
And for Jones, this is just the latest step on a hockey journey that has already seen her represent her country on the pitch.
She added: “I first got into hockey when I was 9 or 10. My sister plays as well and I first got into it that way, for the past eight or nine years.
“It was nice to be part of a team. I struggled a little bit in individual sports so hockey was a good one, and I preferred it a lot more than football.
“Last year I was with the England U18s, which was really good, playing with lots of people who have the same attitude towards hockey that you do is really nice feeling, you get so much out of it and I was able to learn a lot from the experience.
“You get to play some top teams such as Holland, which is already a huge learning experience.”
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.