Like many young athletes up and down the country, Royton water polo sensation Dylan Green has overcome his fair share of trials and tribulations.
But now his career in the pool is very much on the up, and it’s all thanks to the athlete support scheme that has taken him under their wing.
SportsAid’s ‘Backing the Best’ campaign supports talented young athletes for whom the cost of sport could eventually prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Green, who was named England Water Polo Athlete of the Year in 2015, is one of more than 60 young stars who benefit from the scheme, and admits his career trajectory may well have stalled without their support.
“’Backing the Best’ has been really helpful for me. I come from a single-parent family, my mum has just finished studying at Manchester University,” he said.
“We were struggling to cope financially with my training costs and travelling to venues, but thankfully, ‘Backing the Best’ came in at the right time and helped us a lot.
“I got to travel to the Netherlands and Barcelona for a training camp with Great Britain, when I was planning on dropping out of them because I couldn’t afford it.
“So when ‘Backing the Best’ came in and offered me this opportunity, it helped me out so much.”
SportsAid is the national charity that helps the next generation of British sporting superstars, helping them with financial support and recognition during the early stages of their careers.
A phenomenal 46 of Team GB’s 67 medals in Rio were won by the charity’s alumni, and Green admits he couldn’t be in better hands as he chases his own Olympic ambitions.
“Four years ago, I never thought I would be sat in the position I am now, I never thought I would represent my country when I was sat in school in year seven, but I’ve done that now and I’ve enjoyed every step along the way,” he said.
“I have no regrets and I just hope people can pursue their dreams like I have. My dream is to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and SportsAid has given me the opportunity to do that.
“Their funding is enabling me to travel to my training, and travel abroad with the Great Britain squad.
“They have already helped athletes who have competed at the Olympic Games, but they will also help younger athletes achieve that too, which is a great inspiration.
“It would honestly mean the world to me if I was to reach the Olympic Games. I won’t give up, I want to keep pushing until I reach my goal.”
You can make a real difference to the next generation of British athletes heading for Tokyo 2020 and beyond by getting involved in SportsAid Week. Please visit http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek/ to find out more.