12:53PM, Tuesday 31 May 2016
A rising netball star from Bourne End was among those honoured at a special lunch recognising the future potential of some of Buckinghamshire’s brightest athletes.
Anya Wood received £1,000 from the Bucks SportsAid Foundation to help further her fledgling career.
The 17-year-old started playing the sport when she was in primary school, but took it up seriously when she was about 13.
A few years later she joined Clan Netball Club, in High Wycombe, playing in the Netball Premier League 2, which is a national league.
She also plays for the development side of Netball Superleage club Surrey Storm, based in Guildford.
And around this she also finds time for training with the England set-up, which included a call-up to the Under 17 squad which won the European Championships in Gibraltar, in March.
All this involves six days training a week – on top of school work.
Despite this, the Beaconsfield High School pupil insists she relishes every aspect.
“I just love it,” she said.
“I love the social side of it and the challenges that come with it – I’ve travelled the world and the country with it.
“It’s hard but it’s definitely worth it.
“My parents have been my biggest supporters, they’ve taken me all across the country and to training every night.
“This really means a lot though because it will help me reduce the amount I’m reliant on them.”
An A-level geography exam meant Anya wasn’t able to pick up her prize in person, but proud dad Richard was on hand to step in and paid tribute to the foundation for the help it gives young athletes, as well as for the way it publicly recognises their achievements.
The grants were given out by Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams. The skeleton racer, who won Britain’s first individual gold at a Winter Olympics in 30 years in Vancouver 2010, was at the event on Friday at Dorney Lake to present Anya and fellow recipients Razia Quashie and 11-year-old para-swimmer Max Tulloch with their awards.
Roger Fennemore, director of SportsAid Eastern, praised the way sporting talent in the UK is now properly nurtured and encouraged.
He said: “In a previous era, if you were good at sport in Russia you joined the army and if you were good at sport in America you went to university.
“And if you were good at sport here, you got a pat on the back and a bottle of Lucozade.”
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