Niall Treacy

Short track speed skating star Niall Treacy believes the financial support of GVC Holdings and SportsAid could prove the difference in helping him achieving his Olympic ambitions.

The 20-year-old has been a recipient of SportsAid support for a large part of his short career, and the charity launched a three-year partnership with GVC in 2019, aiming to help young athletes across the UK realise their potential.

Treacy – from Henley-in-Arden in Warwickshire – is currently enjoying the transition into the senior international ranks, and was robbed of the opportunity to compete at his first senior World Championships earlier this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Having seen older brother Farrell represent Great Britain at PyeongChang 2018, Treacy is determined to follow in his sibling’s footsteps, and believes crucial financial backing could open doors for him in a sport that sits largely away from the limelight in the UK.

“The financial help provided by this partnership is massive for me as a speed skater, because the sport lost its UK Sport funding after the last Olympics,” said Treacy, one of 50 beneficiaries of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“Everyone was left on their own, so to get this help feels like someone is still backing me and still believes. It’s instrumental in helping us go to that extra competition or train that extra day, so it’s massively appreciated.

“Those extra races and experiences all add up and ultimately it could be the difference between what I can achieve in the sport. To not receive the financial support would make realising my ambitions so much harder.”

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.

Besides the crucial financial support that SportsAid provides, Treacy is familiar with all of the wide-ranging benefits of the programme and is confident he has all the tools to add his name to the illustrious list of alumni that have reached the top of their game.

He said: “I’ve had the chance to go and meet other athletes of a similar age in all different sports – I remember talking to pole-vaulters and weightlifters – and discussing training and learning different things from them, and it was really valuable to hear what they were doing differently to you.

“I remember being shown Jessica Ennis-Hill’s application for SportsAid funding years ago, so to say you’re in the same group as people like her is amazing. It’s a confidence boost and shows they have great faith in your ability as an athlete.”

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.