Olympic Rowing Champion Major Heather Stanning, who won a sensational gold medal with Helen Glover at Rio 2016, has backed the Army Elite Sport Programme (AESP) to discover and support new talent in the British Army with the potential to make it to the top of the podium.
The AESP is a partnership between the British Army, UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).
Major Stanning is in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery but was given special dispensation from the British Army to pursue an Olympic career in rowing which has seen her win gold at London 2012 and now Rio 2016.
Major Stanning was on hand at the Army School of Physical Training in Aldershot where an extension of the AESP was announced.
Following the success of Major Stanning, the collaborative venture will look to uncover and develop more medal-winning British Olympians from within its ranks for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Major General Shaun Burley CB MBE, Director Army Sport Control Board, gave his firm backing to the initiative.
“The Army has traditionally been a great source of top sporting talent but the Army Elite Sport Programme and our new targeted investment in world-class high performance athlete support programmes will take this up a level and help produce Olympic stars of the future,” he said.
“The chance to represent Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Games and beyond is a fantastic opportunity for our Army personnel.
“I am confident that our partnership with UK Sport, EIS and, more recently, TASS will provide us with the very best opportunity of producing Army Olympic medal-winning potential athletes to follow in the footsteps of Major Heather Stanning.”
The AESP, which was launched in October 2014, draws on the extensive experience developed by UK Sport, EIS and sporting National Governing Bodies in the areas of talent identification, athlete development and ultimately delivery of medal-winning athletes.
The remarkable achievements of Major Stanning have brought into focus potential talented athletes within the Army and a recent contract between the Army Sport Control Board and the EIS to provide specialist strength and conditioning services is the latest example of targeted investment into supporting the Army’s rising sporting stars.
EIS National Director Nigel Walker said: “The EIS is delighted to continue our partnership with the Army, UK Sport and TASS as we work together to deliver the Army Elite Sport Programme.
“The Army is undoubtedly a great source of sporting talent. As we saw with Heather Stanning’s fantastic gold medal success at Rio 2016, there is now a strong support network in place to identify, develop and support the Army’s Olympic stars of the future.
“The experience and expertise of EIS practitioners will allow the Army to enhance its performance pathways in order to find and develop more individuals with the potential to join World Class Performance Programmes and win medals at major championships across a range of sports.
“Through the Army Elite Sport Programme, I have no doubt that Army recruits will be on the podium in the years ahead – just as we saw with Heather in Brazil.”
For more information on the EIS, visit www.eis2win.co.uk.