10 England Talent boxers to benefit from Backing The Best

October 2, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


A number of England Talent Pathway boxers who competed at the EUBC European Championships last year will receive funding and support to help their development as part of the Backing The Best programme.

Managed and delivered by SportsAid for Sport England, the programme – which benefits from £5.5 million of National Lottery funding over a four-year period – is backing 282 of the country’s most talented young athletes in 2020.

It aims to support athletes who would face difficulties progressing through their sport’s talent development system without critical financial help.

Although the application process took place last November, final selections for the programme have only recently been confirmed because of delays caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic that saw staff furloughed from some of the nominating sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs).

Boxers being supported are: Denaeo George, 15, (City of Leicester), William Howe, 18, (Headland), Vinny Huczmann, 16, (Leicester Lightning), Enriko Itauma, 15, (St Mary’s), Ellis Panter, 14, (Burton Park), Emily Asquith, 17, (Bridlington), Abby Briggs, 15, (Hunslet), Sophie Harker, 13, (Middlesbrough), Jessica Keeton, 14, (Scunthorpe), Amber Moss-Birch, 14, (Golden Ring, pictured above).

The Back the Best programme was launched in 2016 after a new study, carried out by Leeds Beckett University, showed the rising cost of becoming a sports star had led to certain athletes having to drop out.

All athletes must demonstrate outstanding ability to be eligible for the funding. They also have to show that, because of their family’s financial situation, they might not get the opportunity to fulfil their potential without it.

The awards are worth up to £5,000 per year to help cover expensive costs such as travel, accommodation and medical bills.

Backing The Best athletes also benefit from workshop and online support where they are given expert advice on a range of topics including performance lifestyle management, nutrition and telling their story through the media – where they often record their first ever interviews on camera.

Parents have their own specially adapted sessions focusing on these areas and are able to share their experiences and challenges with each other.

This year, athletes from across 40 different sporting disciplines are benefiting from the programme. The average age of the currently supported athletes is 18-years-old – with a 50/50 gender split, 21% having a disability and 25% coming from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The programme has already produced world, European and national age-group level champions, including Repton ABC’s Caroline Dubois (above), who is part of the GB squad and bidding to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.