SHEFFIELD judo whizz-kid Sam Hall is desperate to take to the mat on the Olympic stage this summer – and believes a timely cash windfall has seen his chances greatly enhanced.
The 15-year-old Firth Park Community Arts College student competed in the Czech Republic recently, helping England to a fourth place finish.
Hall arrived in the Czech Republic boosted by the news he has been re-selected on the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes scheme which will see him receive a £1,000 grant on his road towards the Olympics proper.
But for now, the immediate goal for Hall is this summer’s European Youth Olympic Festival in Turkey and the European Championships in Malta.
“It was a big event for me in the Czech Republic because it counts as a ranking event as well,” said Hall, who competes at the -55kg.
“But now I’m turning my attentions to the GBR team and it’s quite a small squad to get into so I need to be on my game.
“Soon there are the trials with the rest of the British team to make the major events at the end of the year.
“If I can do well this season then I’m hoping to get to the Europeans in Malta and then the Youth Olympics in Turkey.
“I’ve got some tough competition but I’m good enough to beat them and to qualify.”
As well as receiving £1000, Hall will also benefit from expert tuition from the likes of Lloyds TSB ambassador and former Olympic triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards.
“Unfortunately I missed the Lloyds TSB launch in Loughborough but it’s still great to be on the scheme,” he added.
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes provides support and funding to 344 emerging athletes all the way to London 2012 and beyond. Follow the future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at: www.lloydstsb.com/localheroes