Chichester skier Felix Klein insists a life in elite sport wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the support of SportsAid and GVC Holdings.
The New Zealand-born athlete is a beneficiary of GVC’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.
And Klein is acutely aware at just how vital the financial and personal support can be, with natural ski resorts few and far between in the United Kingdom.
“The support from GVC and SportsAid makes my career possible,” said the 20-year-old, who was also part of the programme 12 months ago.
“Skiing is one of the most expensive sports you could partake in.
“My family are not rich, and skiing has always been a big financial sacrifice that we make, as my brother does it as well.
“When there are two of you, you can rinse the bank account pretty quickly, so the funding and general support really makes it possible.
“It shows that it’s not just your parents who are giving you that backing. You’ve got someone who hasn’t met you before but has seen your talents on a piece of paper, they’re giving you their support and it’s very reassuring.”
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 GVC’s Pitching In, a major new multi-million-pound investment programme designed to support and promote grassroots sports.
Now Klein is looking to make the most of his part in the programme, already earmarking what his funding can go towards when the ski season returns following the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’d look to try and put the funding towards ski passes,” he added. “By the time you’ve bought flights, transport and accommodation, the cost really adds up – it’s essentially having to pay for a lot of holidays.
“That support helps take the pressure off and allows me to compete in the extra events or training sessions that I may not have otherwise done.
“I’m not coming down from a mountain and worrying how I’m getting home!
“I was supported by GVC and SportsAid last year and it benefited me a huge amount so I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.”
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.