Charlotte Williams

Having moved away from home for the first time, athletics star Charlotte Williams believes the financial support of GVC Holdings and SportsAid could be the key ingredient in helping her achieving her Olympic ambitions.

The 19-year-old hammer thrower is a recent recipient of the award, with the two bodies having partnered up in a three-year agreement in 2019, aiming to help young athletes across the UK realise their potential.

Williams recently enrolled on a kinesiology degree at the University of Georgia in the United States, approximately 4,000 miles from her mum and dad, and hometown, Clitheroe.

And while the former Burnley College student is confident she now has access to the coaching and facilities to help her get to the top, she insists the scheme’s monetary boost will play a key part in her attempt to eventually emulate fellow Brit Sophie Hitchon, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

“As I’m getting older, it’s nice to not have to rely on my parents to have to pay for everything all the time,” said Williams, one of 50 beneficiaries of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“It’s up to us to pay for all the little competitions we go to every weekend, all of the accommodation that comes with that and all of the equipment as well, so the extra funding is absolutely vital.

“Even just ensuring that my hammer is fully intact can make such a huge difference, so I’m really grateful to be part of the SportsAid programme and I think it’s going to play a huge part in my progression in the sport.”

As well as funding for training, travel and equipment, athletes on the SportsAid programme receive valuable mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.

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.

Williams said: “Being recognised by the likes of SportsAid and GVC is huge for athletes like me from a mental point of you as well, because it means someone has identified you as having potential and are worth backing, which is really motivating.

“When you mention SportsAid people instantly know what you’re talking about and some of the great names they’ve helped. That also pushes you forward and is a big inspiration for me to try and achieve some of the things those guys before me have done.”

GVC 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, GVC are supporting a diverse group of 50 UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit gvc-plc.com to find out more.