10th birthday celebrations for TASS
Top sports names and officials will gather at the Houses of Parliament this week to celebrate the 10th birthday this autumn of TASS, the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme.
GB Short Track athlete Elise Christie was herself a TASS supported athlete and the World Championship bronze medallist has featured on their birthday card which was sent out to their members today to celebrate the occasion.
World champions like Non Stanford from triathlon and Helen Glover of rowing look set to join the event this Wednesday (13th November) which will be supported by Baroness Grey-Thompson and led by TASS Chairman, Alison Odell CBE.
Since its inauguration in 2003 TASS-supported alumni or current athletes have won or gone on to win 78 Olympic and Paralympic medals: 28 gold, 18 silver and 32 bronze. Christie is now hoping to add to this total in Sochi.
Of her TASS support, Christie said: “The funding has been really helpful in so much as it helped me become a 'proper athlete'. The support with living costs when I initially moved down from Scotland to train really set me on the path to where I am now.”
TASS made early funding available to athletes like Elise - who are or were studying in further or higher education - for vital core support such as physiotherapy, strength and conditioning, coaching and other elements.
Christie continued, “It's given me access to things from proper food and equipment to back-room support. It's been invaluable to my development."
Skeleton slider Shelley Rudman was the first TASS-funded athlete to win an Olympic medal when she took silver in Turin in 2006 at the Olympic Winter Games, later saying: “Winning silver is a dream that TASS funding for my programme helped make reality. I hope that many more athletes will benefit from TASS like I have.”
Guy Taylor, National Director of TASS said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate our 10th birthday at such a splendid location with our host Baroness Grey-Thompson.
“TASS began in the autumn of 2003 when names like Liam Heath and Jon Schofield, canoeists who both won medals at London 2012, were in the first batch of award recipients.
“Since then TASS has given over £30 million in support to over 6,000 athletes across 50 sports – contributing to 78 Olympic and Paralympic medals while also helping all of these athletes to remain in higher or further education.”
Each year TASS supports around 600 young athletes and is also renowned for its support of programmes to develop young sport-support service practitioners. It’s recently announced agreement with the British Psychological Society is the latest in a series of significant partnerships for the organisation which provides experience along the practitioner pathway with later benefits for top-level sport.
TASS is also seen as a global expert in the support needed for dual career athletes – those who are training and competing at an elite level whilst studying.
For more information on TASS, please visit www.tass.gov.uk.