Tiana Dennison will be one of those to benefit, photo courtesy of Trevor Parsons

This year, 31 talented young table tennis players from across the UK are set to benefit from a £750,000 award pot – thanks to the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), one of the largest independent athlete support programmes in the UK.

Charitable social enterprise GLL announced its funding last week at a VIP event held at the landmark ‘BT Tower’ in London.  The 31 young table tennis players include five para table tennis players.

GSF award recipient, 11-year-old Tiana Dennison from Waltham Forest, said: “I am training hard to become the England number one in my age group. I am the current number two. My intention is to play for England when I am older, this funding support will help me to achieve my goal.”

The 31 table tennis players are amongst around 1300 supported athletes that represent over 80 different Olympic, Paralympic, Deaflympic and Special Olympic sporting disciplines. Most of the funding is designed to help young developing talent and 75% of awards are to athletes aged under 21.

The Foundation Patron and former Olympic and World champion Sally Gunnell explained: “It is vitally important that we take full advantage of the inspiration from the Games and harness all the talent our youth can offer, supporting them as much as we can to fulfil many sporting dreams.

“From starting out as a young athlete and progressing through my sport, I understand how support from the GLL Sport Foundation is invaluable to a rising star; I am delighted that through this scheme I am able to champion such support for sporting talent.”

Supported athletes will benefit from financial training grants of up to £1,250 as well as training memberships enabling wider facility access across GLL and partner operated venues.

Peter Bundey, Chair of the GLL Sport Foundation, gave recognition to the many people and organisations helping the Foundation: “There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in helping young sporting talent.  I would like to thank SportsAid, who work in partnership with us to provide direct links to Sport Governing Body talent pathways and our support network including numerous local authority, university and sporting partners.  In tough economic times we must also express our huge debt of gratitude to all our fantastic sponsors and supporters who fund the programme and finance hundreds of sporting dreams.”

For more information visit the GLL Sport Foundation website www.gllsportfoundation.org