Hackney Council’s Youth Sport Fund, which to date has awarded £90,000 to young athletes, has now assisted talented young Olympic Weightlifters Kim Pham and Omarie Mears to progress from the school gym to the national arena.
Kim and Omarie have excelled at the young age of 18, with Kim the reigning British Juniors Champion (58kg) and Omarie 2nd in the British U18s Championship (69kg).
The talented pair are dedicated to their sport and have competed in the London Youth Games over the past three years, helping Hackney to lift the Weightlifting title twice.
Six other talented young people are also receiving support this time around and as an added bonus they have also been given a ticket to an Olympic event at this London 2012 Games. Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe presented the young people with their award funding at a special event on Monday 21 May.
Hackney Council's Cabinet Member for Health Social Care and Culture, Councillor Jonathan McShane said: “I'm proud that the Council has been able to support Kim and Omarie so they can continue their sporting dreams. There are many talented youngsters in Hackney who deserve a helping hand and our Youth Sports Fund can help. I’d encourage those young people who need some financial support to apply before the next deadline of 1 June.”
Receiving the financial support from the Youth Sport Fund Kim said "It feels relieving to know that I have support from Hackney Youth Sport Fund because it eases the pressure and stress. I'm really grateful because if it wasn't for Hackney Youth Sport Fund, I honestly don't know how I would have managed in my sport."
Omarie said of his award, “It feels good to get support to excel in my chosen sport, without the funding I don't think I would be where I'm at now.”
They both harbour dreams of competing at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics Games in Rio. But before this Omarie is all set to be a Junior Games Maker at the London 2012 Paralympic weightlifting event, and Kim has the honour of carrying the Olympic torch through Islington.
The pair learned their trade at Cardinal Pole Catholic School; which has laid the foundations to support young people achieve in sport.
Hackney Council’s Youth Sports Fund, provides assistance to talented young athletes who are committed to becoming the best they can be in their chosen sport. Support of up to £500 is available on an annual basis through an application process.
Anyone who gets the Gold or Silver award also receive a fully paid or half price membership respectively at one of the borough leisure centres courtesy of Greenwich Leisure Limited, the social enterprise managing Hackney Council’s six leisure centres.
The other talented sporting individuals Hackney Council is supporting this year through the Youth Sports Fund are:
Jim Pope: Mountaineer for Great Britain - Stoke Newington School, aged 13
Grace Bradley – Shankar: National Sailor – Stoke Newington School, aged 13
Ford Fagan: National Diver – Haggerston School, aged 11
Dorica Santos: Talented young sprinter (athletics) – Mossbourne Academy, aged 15
Bart Wallbank: Club cyclist – LaSwap Sixth Form – aged 16
Savannah Sills – Talented tennis player who is playing on the international circuit. – Stoke Newington School, aged 15
Young people, community groups or individuals can apply for funding through the Youth Sports Fund by filling in an application form at www.hackney.gov.uk/c-sports-grants.htm
The remaining closing dates in 2012 are 1 June, 21 September and 22 December.
The fund was set up in November 2007 through compensation from Nike for misappropriation of the Council's logo.
For more information about the applying for Hackney Council’s Youth Sports Fund please contact the Council's Leisure & Physical Activity Team at
or 020 8356 4897.
Photography credit Sean Pollock