Young athlete wins his first international competition


Jim Pope, centre, awarded for his win in Austria

Jim Pope, centre, awarded for his win in Austria

A talented teenage climber from Stoke Newington has celebrated his first international win.

Jim Pope, 16, took first place in the last leg of the European Youth Climbing Cup in Mitterdorf, in Austria.

Pope, who has been climbing for seven years, said: “I was really pleased to have won my first European Cup and it’s definitely a good confidence boost.

“The Youth Sports Fund helped because it’s been used to pay for travel and accommodation expenses, buy equipment, and for coaching costs.”

The Stoke Newington schoolboy has been awarded £900 over the past few years from The Hackney Youth Sports Fund which went towards things like equipment and travel costs.

He also received, in partnership with the Council’s leisure provider GLL, a young person’s training membership which allows him to use Clissold Leisure Centre, and other GLL facilities, for free.

The fund is awarded to young people with sporting potential who live or go to school in the borough. Grants are also available to community clubs which provide opportunities for young people to take part in exercise.

Jim competed in hot August conditions to mentally plan his route before his 30m-high climb which included a long endurance route up the central steepest part of the wall.

The stage win, in which he beat around 40 other competitors from around Europe, secured him a fantastic overall fifth place in the climbing series.

The first round of this year’s 2015/16 fund is now open, with grants of up to £500 available for those competing at grassroots to national level. It closes on 1 October.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health Social Care and Culture, said: “I would like to congratulate Jim on his fantastic win against some tough competition.

“I’m really pleased the Council has been able to support him through our sports fund which has awarded hundreds of grants towards the development of young athletes from Hackney since it began 2007. I would urge anyone who thinks they’re eligible for funding to apply now.”

The application forms can be downloaded here.

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