Bury St Edmunds dressage rider Ruth Hole has been singled out for her sporting achievements and handed a prestigious spot on the 2015 Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport programme.
Hole is in world-class company on the programme, with the likes of Jade Jones, who won gold at the Olympic Games in 2012 in London in taekwondo, one of the first recipients of an Academy of Sport bursary back in 2010.
The 16-year-old, who has already competed at a number of international events, experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity this week as she attended the world famous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials where she got to rub shoulders with London 2012 silver medallist Zara Phillips and walk the famous course with Captain Mark Phillips.
Just 276 star athletes have been awarded with an Academy bursary since 2010, with 35 per cent of Jaguar Land Rover Academy alumni progressing to professional or world-class funding level – which demonstrates the huge potential of Ipswich High School’s Hole in the years ahead.
“I went to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials thanks to the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport. It was an amazing opportunity as I have never been there before,” said Hole, who also attended a workshop as part of the scheme alongside some star-studded ambassadors such as rugby stars Lewis Moody and Maggie Alphonsi.
“We also went to a workshop at Twickenham recently. It’s so great being with athletes who are all the same level as you or are better.
“We are all trying to achieve the same thing and the grant that they have given us is so cool and will go towards everything we will need, competition-wise, and training-wise that sort of thing.”
The Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport is an initiative which aims to recognise, celebrate and inspire the next generation of British sporting talent through a world class mentoring programme.
This year the Academy has provided bursaries to 50 young and inspirational able-bodied and disabled athletes, who are recognised as being top of their game
As well as offering financial support, a mentoring and education programme provides these rising star athletes with the non-financial support they need to help them on their road to success
And Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson, who also spent individual time with a handful of athletes at the world famous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, is convinced Hole has a hugely exciting future ahead of her.
“I was young once and I had all these hopes and dreams and it’s just great that we can give them support in their chosen fields and just help them to achieve their potential,” said Robinson, who scored a try in the final as England were crowned 2003 Rugby World Cup champions.
“It gives everyone else confidence that actually it does work. We are seeing some of these young people turn into some of the best athletes that the country’s got. I think it’s fantastic for these young people and give it three, four or five years and I’m sure we will be watching them on TV.”
Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport rising star rugby athlete Marcus Street was invited to Land Rover Burghley Horse Trails event to meet with ambassador Zara Phillips for an exclusive mentoring Q&A.