Budding Olympians Thompson and Tweedale hail grants boost

Talented athlete Lee Thompson (left) in action on the track. (PHOTO BY: Matt McLennan)
Talented athlete Lee Thompson (left) in action on the track. (PHOTO BY: Matt McLennan)

Two possible Olympians of the future from the Bassetlaw area have been held up as shining examples of the success of a grants scheme.

Athlete Lee Thompson, from Carlton-in-Lindrick, and ice dancer Robynne Tweedale, of Misson, both benefited from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Talented Athletes Fund last year.

Ice dancer Robynne Tweedale.

Ice dancer Robynne Tweedale.

Now the duo have heaped praise on the fund, saying how much it has helped them compete with the best around the world.

Thompson, 21, works full-time as a finance analyst for Wilko at its head office in Worksop. But during his spare time, he has developed into one of the country’s most promising 400m runners.

He said: “I like to picture myself as an Olympian with a few medals to my name from World Championships and European Championships too. I am passionate about winning.”

Thompson is a member of the City of Sheffield and Dearne Athletics Club and trains six days a week. He is supported by mum Sally, dad Phil, grandma Pat and girlfriend Hannah, 20, but he still relies heavily on outside funding to cover his costs.

The Talented Athletes Fund offers grants of up to £400 to Nottinghamshire sportspeople who have represented their country over the past year.

The grants pay for travel, training, accommodation, competition and coaching fees and kit. Last year, the council awarded 65 grants worth more than £23,000.

Another of the recipients was 22-year-old Tweedale, who has become so successful that she is now based at one of the best training centres in the world, the Novi Ice Arena in Michigan, USA.

Alongside her partner, Joseph Buckland, she trains under two of the world’s most reputable coaches and takes part in competitions across the globe.

She said: “My mum took me to an ice rink when I was aged 11 or 12, and she hasn’t been able to get me off since!

“The amount of creativity and passion we intertwine with the physical demands of ice dance brings me so much joy every day.”

Tweedale continues to be supported by mum Justine, dad Christopher, grandparents Marilyn and Ronald and sister Becky. And like Thompson, one of her main aims is to compete at the Olympic Games.

Prevous beneficiaries of the council’s fund, such as gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie, and Paralympic athlete Richard Whitehead, have done just that.

Coun John Handley said: “This fund is a great opportunity for young athletes. In Nottinghamshire, we are proud of our sporting heritage and want to encourage as many as possible to became as talented in their sport as they can.”

Applications for the current round of funding must be made before Monday, October 15.