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Young ski star selected for prestigious sports programme

By Lucy Wilde

Young skiing sensation Amy Clegg has been selected for a prestigious sports programme and will succeed Paralympic greats Ellie Simmonds, Hollie Arnold and Ade Adepitan.

The 19-year-old only started skiing competitively two years ago so she could go on a school ski trip, but she is now part of Team GB's Paralympic Development Squad and is on track to compete at the 2030 Paralympics, boosted by support from charity SportsAid.

Despite being born 11 weeks premature – weighing less than a bag of sugar – and having to learn to adapt to profound deafness and cerebral palsy, Clegg always knew what she wanted from life.

“I knew from the age of five that I wanted to compete in the Paralympics. I said I was going to try every sport until I found one that suited me,” she said.

“I was the most active kid of all. I did trampolining, rock climbing and swimming, but once I started skiing I developed such a passion for the sport that I fell completely in love with it.”

It was a chance meeting with some GB development coaches at a local event, shortly after starting her skiing journey, that changed everything for the Salford-born teenager.

“I showed them a video of me and they said, ‘How the hell did we miss you?’ I was absolutely shocked by their reaction,” she recalls. “They asked me if I wanted to join the GB development squad and I said, ‘Go for it’. I never could have imagined this would happen to me.”

A few years later, Clegg still believed she could go far on the slopes, but it was the lessons she learned away from the snow-filled training stages that surprised her.

“Skiing has had a huge impact on me, beyond just being on the slopes. I used to be really bad at walking, but now I can walk without assistance. Last year I could lift 6kg, but now I can lift 55kg,” she said.

“I also wasn't used to being away from home, I was calling my parents all the time, but learning to be independent in training camps really improved me as a person.

“Skiing has also taught me that it is important not to rush. I have to enjoy the journey and do my best, without letting the bad days affect me.”

SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes each year, the vast majority aged 12 to 18, by providing financial support to help cover the costs of training and competing. This award is a real boost to their motivation, as it is often the first recognition they receive outside their support network. Many are heavily reliant on their parents as they have no other source of funding.

These athletes are Britain’s brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated by SportsAid to the national bodies of more than 60 sports, based on criteria set by each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000, with the money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charity funds and fundraising activities.

Clegg said: “I have to pay more than anyone else in my team. I fall a lot so I need an assistant to come with me to the slopes. They are volunteers so the SportsAid funding means they can come to training camps with me and help out whenever they can.”

“I train a lot in Europe because obviously you have to travel to get to the slopes, but a week or two-week training camp can cost up to £4,000. It makes it very difficult financially.

“At home, there is always a lot of money going out to help me and never much money coming in.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to support the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.

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