NORFOLK athlete Danny Nobbs says employers and corporate backers hold the key to East Anglian athletes taking gold overseas.
Having faced the triple challenge of accessing funding alongside a full-time job in conjunction and strenuous training commitments the 38-year-old Paralympic javelin and shot-putter knows first hand the uphill struggle some sporting hopefuls can face.
Danny, who will compete in the World Games in Portugal early in December, has chosen to rally businesses in the region, ahead of a presentation he will give at a breakfast event in aid of Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE’s fundraising efforts.
He said: “Personally, I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to have an incredibly supportive employer, in Aviva, as they’ve always understood my need to fit in training and to have a paid job at the same time.
“Most of us simply are not fortunate enough to achieve our sport ambitions and give it 24/7 attention, unless there is a constant stream of funding.
“It means that businesses in the region could really play a part in helping our incredible pool of local sports talent, by sponsoring in some way, or just by understanding that they need to be flexible in how they go about employing those with genuine athletic potential.”
Danny has himself received occasional funding during his sports career, but the tough selection policy around funding has meant he has had to maintain his regime without additional financial support.
This has meant a dual-life regime, working as a sponsorship consultant for Aviva, while also training in the early hours and late at night to achieve his ultimate goals.
“I’m not going to deny it’s incredibly tough to keep everything going,” he said.
“That’s particularly true now that I’m also a Dad to my six-month-old daughter. But like any athlete, I want the best of myself, so I work hard to make it happen.
“If more businesses could work with the likes of the Norfolk Sports Academy and provide help for young athletes with the likes of bursaries, that would take so much pressure off the future generation.”
He added: “There are so many talented potential stars out there in East Anglia who need financial support to keep up with their training, not just for training and competition costs, but for the specialist advice needed for today’s athlete.
“It’s a way that our business community locally could really help.”
One athlete currently facing that dilemma is Jessica-Jane Applegate MBE.
The Norfolk swimmer is desperate to achieve necessary funding to help her reach the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020.
Thanks to support by Norwich business NWES, a fundraising breakfast event and online auction is being held for her campaign on Friday 10th November.
Danny, who will speak at that event, said: “Jessica-Jane is a typical story of someone who is incredibly talented and deserves the chance to make it all the way on the world stage.
“Without the right funding, she simply won’t get to do that. I’d urge all businesses and employers to really think how they could support the potential sporting talent which could be representing our region globally in the coming years.”
The business breakfast event, to support Jessica-Jane’s fundraising appeal, takes place at Sprowston Manor in Norwich on Friday 10thNovember.
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