Seth O’Connor

Rising rowing star Seth O’Connor says SportsAid funding came at the perfect time as he tried to maintain momentum during lockdown.

The 18-year-old is a beneficiary of GVC Holdings’ three-year partnership with SportsAid helping young athletes across the UK realise their potential.

Lockdown prevented O’Connor from training with team-mates at Henley Rowing Club and while he was able to resume solo work in July, he still needed to stay in shape.

That’s where SportsAid funding came in – he was able to source weights and home workout equipment that was invaluable to following British Rowing’s rigorous regime.

“For me, it was really fortunate that receiving SportsAid funding coincided with lockdown,” said O’Connor, who is targeting the 2028 Olympic Games.

“I was able to buy equipment and weights after we got funding in June and I was really lucky I could carry on training at home.

“There wasn’t as much stress as there could have been and a lot of people I know couldn’t afford to buy the weights to keep training.

“The transition back to proper training has been far easier for me than some of my friends.

“It gets pretty stale just sitting on an erg machine, doing lots of core or going on a run.

“I was able to switch up my training and do some strength and conditioning work which was really helpful.”

O’Connor following in the footsteps of legendary figures such as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah and Ellie Simmonds OBE, all of whom received SportsAid support.

The initiative is part of GVC’s Pitching In, a major new multi-million-pound investment programme designed to support and promote grassroots sports.

O’Connor, who represented Britain at the World Junior Championships in 2019, valued SportsAid’s backing at a difficult time in his young career.

He said: “It wasn’t just about the financial support, it boosts your confidence to have the backing of an organisation like SportsAid.

“As athletes you get your confidence from competing and winning and training hard, and we didn’t have that during lockdown, so it was a big source of belief.

“When you have someone investing in your future, it’s a nice feeling.”

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.