Annabel Carthy

Andrew Nicholson’s insight is catapulting Annabel Carthy’s equestrian career to a new level – but the riding star says that would not have been possible without GVC Holdings and SportsAid’s support.

Wilmslow’s Carthy is currently taking part in an intensive 12-week programme under the former world champion’s auspices in Marlborough, Wiltshire.

Nicholson captured a hat-trick of Olympic medals between 1992 and 2012 and a ‘starstruck’ Carthy admits the opportunity would have never materialised without GVC and SportsAid’s influence.

“I’ve always looked up to Andrew which is why being here is still surreal,” said the 20-year-old, a beneficiary of GVC’s programme which is part of the Pitching In initiative.

“I’m still starstruck six weeks in every time I see him – I’m trotting around and he’s on one of his horses and I’m like ‘wow, this is crazy!’

“The funding has enabled me to come here and get the absolute maximum out of the experience – I’ve not got to worry about money, and I can take everything I can from it.”

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.

And 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.

Equestrian is a sport where communication is fundamental – and Carthy believes the opportunities enabled by GVC and SportsAid are invaluable in enhancing her skills away from the saddle.

“The interview advice SportsAid provide is really important – I’ve learned some skills to be more confident and think about what I say more,” added Carthy, who is following in the footsteps of current stars Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Peaty MBE in receiving SportsAid support.

“With horses, you have to talk to owners, and if you can talk well to someone about you and your passion it’s going to make them a lot more likely to support you.”

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.