|Jenny’s a FAN, are you?
800m runner Jenny Meadows and amateur rugby league’s John McMullen.
OLYMPIAN Jenny Meadows has thrown her support behind a project to ease the financial burden for athletes ahead of the 2012 games.
Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust has thrown open its doors for free to the borough’s top sports stars.
The 800m runner who took part in the Beijing games said she was hoping to make the finals in 2012 and described the F.A.N.S scheme - Free Access for National Sportspeople – as “fantastic” at its official launch.
Elite athletes who join the scheme can access swimming pools, Profiles Gyms and running tracks at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust sites across Wigan Borough.
Jenny said: “People think if you run for Great Britain at the Olympics you must drive a flash sports car but that’s not the case.
“In reality there’s not a lot of funding even at the very top level.
“To compete at the very highest level takes a lot of commitment. I train twice a day seven days a week so if that wasn’t free it would cost me a fortune.
“This type of scheme is fantastic.
“I was 27 in Beijing and I’ll be 31 by the time of the London Olympics and I feel I should be at my peak and I’d at least want to make the final.”
The scheme has been introduced by Sports Development Officer Helen Browne to help reduce the financial barrier faced by top athletes trying to balance work , education and training.
And it’s not just athletes who will benefit. Anyone who lives or trains in Wigan Borough and is a member or representative of a national team or squad will be eligible for the scheme.
This includes Wigan based international amateur rugby league players like John McMullen. He said: “You can see amateur rugby league improving every year and this is another incentive for people to play at the highest level.”
In order to qualify for the scheme sportsmen and women must also be listed in the top 10 of any national age group ranking and must have a top ten finish in any national age group competition in the last 12 months.
Admission will be free to Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust venues on presentation of a current Lifestyle card.
For more information about the scheme and to request an application form please contact Helen Browne on 01942 828 510.