Owen Chaplin

Rugby star Owen Chaplin believes GVC Holdings and SportsAid’s support will make him a more well-rounded individual.

Chaplin, 18, is currently training for Newcastle Falcons and has also earned international recognition as third choice hooker for Ireland Under-18s.

GVC and SportsAid’s funding is fuelling his rise but he believes insight on broader aspects of life are just as important as events on the field.

“Everything SportsAid and GVC do is teaching you to work in a professional environment,” said Chaplin, one of 50 beneficiaries of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“Even what I’m doing now, an interview, they teach you about that and if I was to progress, it’s really helpful.

“It’s massively important that SportsAid teach you about all different areas of becoming a well-rounded athlete if you want to progress.”

Supported by Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, GVC announced a three-year partnership with SportsAid last year to help young athletes realise their potential and promote grassroots sport.

The investment will provide funding for training, travel and equipment and allow athletes access to mentoring by Olympians and Paralympians on topics such as nutrition and sports psychology.

Financial support is supplemented by a confidence boost for athletes and Chaplin hopes the all-encompassing benefits of the partnership can take him to the top.

“The funding helps with travel and basic things as well – it’s quite expensive with the long trips down south to play rugby,” added Chaplin, who is treading the same SportsAid pathway as current stars Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE.

“Of course, it also gave me a confidence boost – you get a nice feeling when you discover that someone appreciates you and wants to invest in you.

“It’s great to follow in the footsteps of SportsAid’s alumni and it’s a big achievement for me.”

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.