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Diverse athletes to benefit from UK Sport talent ID campaign

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UK Sport’s latest talent identification process will open the door to more young athletes from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds, according to chief executive Liz Nicholl.

Nicholl says the quango’s #DiscoverYour Gold campaign – which invites young athletes to take part in a selection process after filling in an application form – opens the playing field to a wider section of society by handing the initiative to the potential athlete.

Rather than going through the traditional selection route of a representing a club or university – an opportunity not afforded to everyone – talented individuals are able to proactively declare their interest in the scheme where they are then assessed on their ability, psychology and genetics before UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) decides whether they should be chosen to train for an Olympic discipline.

Individuals who are judged to have a reasonable chance of medalling at an Olympic Games may then be eligible for UK Sport funding.

In UK Sport’s 2015/16 annual report, which was published last week, figures revealed that only 10 per cent of the 1,268 athletes funded by the quango over the 12 months were from a black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds, below the national population average of 13 per cent.

Talking to Sports Management at the launch of the campaign, Nicholl said there was “absolutely no question” that proportion would rise with the implementation of campaigns such as #DiscoverYour Gold.

“This is such an open opportunity,” said Nicholl. “The original talent identification selection process in sport in previous years had been about individuals who choose to participate in sport as they come up through a club, county or region, or rowing at university.

“Now sports are very open to the opportunity to reach out into much more diverse communities, and the best way to do that is through a campaign which is public and that reaches a lot of social media.”

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UK Sport’s latest talent identification process will open the door to more young athletes from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds, according to chief executive Liz Nicholl.
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Nicholl said the campaign would result in more ethnic minority athletes being funded by UK Sport / mimagephotography/Shutterstock.com