Olympic hopeful Louise Evans is hoping to replicate the exploits of clubmate Dina Asher-Smith with the help of funding from Entain Holdings and SportsAid.
Asher-Smith came through at Blackheath & Bromley Harriers, where 400m prospect Evans now trains under the tutelage of Linford Christie in combination with her studies at Brunel University.
And the journey of Britain’s current sprint sensation – one of a vast number of SportsAid alumni to have become a British sporting icon, alongside the likes of Sir Mo Farah and Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill – acts as further motivation for Evans in her quest to reach the top.
“It’s an honour to have the same funding as those names and I hope to follow in their footsteps,” said the 19-year-old, who hails from Aylesham in Kent.
“I really enjoyed seeing Dina Asher-Smith come through. We run for the same club and she’s from the same area so to see someone having success on the world stage is really inspiring.”
Lockdown wiped out the spring and summer competitions on Evans’ radar but funding from Entain, which helps cover training, travel and equipment, allowed her to keep training and ensured she was ready to hit the ground running upon her return to the track.
“It is a massive help,” she said.
“It helps us with treatment for injury prevention, like massages and physio, and this year alone the funding helped me with the weights I needed to train from home.
“If we ever have anything like lockdown in the future, I’m prepared now and I have a set-up at home.”
The initiative was launched in 2019 with the support of Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson and it was a successful year for Evans, who won a European Under-20 Championship gold in the 4x400m relay and an individual silver in the British Under-20 Athletics Championships.
Lockdown has meant a shift in focus to 2021, which the former Sandwich Technology School student is eager to crack into.
“I have moved up an age group now and the European Under-23s is next year,” Evans said.
“I came seventh in the (Under-20) final last year, which was disappointing and made me want more from myself. Hopefully I can get a medal or at least place high in the final. It’s an Olympic year so I’ll set my expectations really high and see how it goes.
“I allow myself to dream big because once it’s there you can aim for it. If you fall short, so be it but if you have that dream there you will keep fighting for it.
“Ultimately, I would like to make the Olympics as an individual and win Olympic, World and Commonwealth medals. That’s a big dream of mine.”
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.