Skeleton star Milly Kellyman is relishing the chance to follow in big footsteps after being selected to receive funding from GVC Holdings and SportsAid.
The 27-year-old 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.
Kellyman hadn’t even heard of skeleton before taking up the sport but is making up for lost time having reached the Great Britain Talent Squad.
“It’s a massive compliment. I didn’t have the structure and support beyond my family when I was doing athletics, so it’s really nice to have this in place,” said Kellyman, who graduated with a Child and Youth Studies degree from Derby University in 2015.
“Having that belief from someone else, who has seen what you can do and backs you to go even further, is a really nice compliment and massively reassuring.
“The funding is going towards general living. A lot of our training costs, including when we go away, are sorted, but you still have to make sure you live properly and give yourself as much opportunity as possible to focus on your sport.
“It’s already made a really big difference and I’m sure that will continue over the coming months.
“The SportsAid alumni are amazing, there are some big shoes to fill! The unity really ties in with my values, everyone coming together for events and to share their ideas and experiences, it’s really amazing to be a part of.”
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.
And for Kellyman, who first got into skeleton when trialling in 2016 through the Discover Your Gold programme, having the backing to compete in what is still a new sport is providing her plenty of reassurance.
“I always felt I had more to give in sport after starting in athletics. After the 2016 Olympics, there was an advertisement for the Discover Your Gold programme, and that’s how I got involved in skeleton.
“I went along, had no idea what it was about and did a quick Google before getting involved.
“I saw it was a bit dangerous but I thought, if they’ve seen something in me, then I ought to give it a go. And I’ve not stopped ever since!”
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.