Entain, the leading global sports betting and gaming entertainment operator, has announced that its Foundation is extending its long-term partnership with SportsAid to provide critical funding to the most talented young British athletes all the way through to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Entain Foundation will double its financial backing thus far to SportsAid, taking its total commitment to around £500,000 by Paris 2024 – making Entain one of the charity's largest corporate partners.
The extension comes as the Paralympic Games are now in full swing in Tokyo. Around a quarter of the Entain-SportsAid recipients are para athletes, aiming to compete in future Paralympic Games. Current beneficiaries include para table tennis player Craig Allen; wheelchair fencer Abigail Marshall; track and field stars Charles Dobson and Joel Clarke-Khan, and wheelchair basketball talent Dylan Wade.
Overall, 165 of the 227 members of the ParalympicsGB squad in Tokyo (73%) have received financial support and recognition from SportsAid during their careers. 48 of the SportsAid alumni announced for Tokyo have received support from the charity since Rio 2016.
Entain first partnered with SportsAid in 2018. Entain supports over 50 aspiring athletes a year across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland with each athlete receiving an annual financial support to contribute towards training, competition, travel and equipment costs.
The Entain-SportsAid partnership has so far distributed over 150 athlete awards with sponsorship and event fundraising key to this. Previous beneficiaries of the Entain-SportsAid partnership include Bethany Shriever, who last weekend added the world title to the gold medal she won in BMX Supercross at the Tokyo Olympics.
In addition to direct financial assistance, Entain works with SportsAid to supply athletes with recognition and personal development opportunities. An integral aspect of the partnership is workshop delivery for athletes and their parents and guardians, where they receive expert advice on a range of topics including nutrition, mental wellbeing and dealing with the media.
Grainne Hurst, Group Director of Corporate Affairs at Entain, said: “Following the incredible performance from British athletes at this year’s Olympic Games and the Paralympics getting under way in Tokyo, we are delighted to extend our SportsAid partnership for a further three years. Our collaboration with SportsAid is a huge source of pride for everyone at Entain and plays a pivotal role in supporting the next generation of British sporting heroes.”
Danny Crates, a Paralympic gold and bronze medallist and leading ambassador for SportsAid, said: “Talented young athletes need the right support, at the right time, to help them fulfil their potential and ultimately achieve their ambitions. SportsAid has maintained a crucial presence across British sport over the last 45 years - playing an important role in the country’s international success throughout that time.
“It’s the overall package offered by SportsAid which helps make such a difference to athletes - financial backing, recognition of talent, workshop support, personal development opportunities - and this has really been enhanced in recent years. The outstanding commitment of the charity’s partners, such as Entain, is vital to making that a reality and I’m delighted to see this relationship going from strength-to-strength.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid's Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have developed a long-standing partnership with Entain which sees SportsAid at the heart of the company’s Pitching In initiative. This extended commitment will take us all the way up to the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 and comes at a very important time for talented young athletes - particularly following a challenging period over the last 18 months.
“Our partnership with Entain has continued to evolve year-on-year and the well-rounded support provided to these aspiring young sports stars gives them added confidence and motivation to pursue their ambitions. We have also seen an increased awareness of SportsAid and a much wider audience is hearing the stories behind the next generation of sporting heroes. Thank you to Entain and their staff for being so invested in what we do.”
The support for young athletes via SportsAid is part of The Entain Foundation’s multi-million-pound grassroots sports investment programme. This also includes support for local football clubs in the Trident Leagues, as part of the “Pitching In” initiative, backing for aspiring Greek athletes through bwin’s Team Future programme and further international initiatives in the countries in which Entain operates to support grass roots and community sport.