A new Accelerator Academy has been established by law firm Eversheds to provide ‘non athletic’ support for four rising young stars of Irish athletics.
Patience Jumbo Gala, Rhasidat Adeleke, Sarah Healy and Sophie O’Sullivan are the first four athletes to benefit from the initiative.
The four were selected by Olympians Sonia O’Sullivan and David Matthews who have been brought on board as advisers for the Academy.
The primary area in which it will offer assistance are in financial support to help cover some out of pocket expenses while competing and a personalised training programme in public speaking and related areas. There is also the opportunity of a work placement but with two of the athletes studying for the 2019 Leaving Cert and the others still in fifth year that is less likely to be of significant importance in the early stage.
Each of the four will remain on the programme for the next 24 months.
“It has been a long-held ambition of mine to set up an Academy like this here in Ireland to support some our top young talent,” said Sonia O’Sullivan.
“I know from personal experience just how difficult it can be to keep a healthy balance between sporting activities and non-sporting ones when you’re striving to compete at the highest level.”
“It’s so important to have a support structure for athletes that develops the person on and off the track. That’s what this Academy is designed to do and we are very grateful to Eversheds Sutherland for providing the financial support to help this project come to life.”
“We are delighted to partner with Sonia and David on this new Accelerator Academy to support four of Ireland’s top up and coming athletes,” added Eversheds Managing Partner Alan Murphy.
“Patience, Rhasidat, Sarah and Sophie are enormously talented and are clearly focused on reaching the highest level of sporting achievement. Through the Academy we want to play our part in supporting these young athletes to thrive on and off the track.”
“Through work experience placement, career coaching and financial support we hope that our contribution will help these young athletes to develop a set of useful life skills and experiences while pursuing their sporting dreams.”
“At Eversheds Sutherland we have a culture of high performance and we care about our talented employees having a good work life balance. We have a range of programmes in place to encourage staff to keep that balance and that’s what makes this partnership with the Academy such a natural fit for us.”
Eversheds has been a partner of SportsAid in the UK since 2006 where it offers similar assistance to young athletes across a range of different areas. No doubt there will be learnings from that for the Irish project as well.