Littlehampton’s sports stars given help to excel

John Virgo presents the Young Sportsperson of the Year Award to Charlie Strickland
John Virgo presents the Young Sportsperson of the Year Award to Charlie Strickland

SPORTING superstars from Littlehampton have been given a cash boost to help them excel in their chosen fields.

Five of the town’s residents have shared a slice of the £2,000 financial awards scheme by the Littlehampton Sports Forum, backed by Littlehampton Town Council.

Left to right: Ellie Hack, Daphne Belt, Littlehampton mayor Jill Long, councillor Malcolm Belchamber, Caleb Grace and Jordan Okonta who won the Sussex Sports Awards disabled sports personality of the year SUS-141230-171604001

Left to right: Ellie Hack, Daphne Belt, Littlehampton mayor Jill Long, councillor Malcolm Belchamber, Caleb Grace and Jordan Okonta who won the Sussex Sports Awards disabled sports personality of the year SUS-141230-171604001

Town councillor Malcolm Belchamber, chairman of the sports forum, said: “The sports forum was overwhelmed by the standard of this year’s applicants and astonished by their combined achievements.”

This year’s lucky winners included disabled athlete Jordan Okonta, who has won numerous competitions at regional and national level and has been selected to compete at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles later this year.

The 17-year-old was awarded a total of £500 which will help fund his travel and accommodation costs while taking part in competitions.

Twelve-year-old football star Ellie Hack also proved her skills were worth a punt in supporting, after clinching a £450 grant – the second highest to be given out.

Ellie plays with the Brighton & Hove Albion Girls’ Centre of Excellence as well as the Sussex Schools U13 and hopes to one day play for England at the Olympics.

The windfall will help her with travel, training and equipment costs.

Disabled swimmer Caleb Grace, 16, made a splash with the judges, who granted him £400. It comes after he won five gold medals at the Welsh National Summer Competition. The funds will help Caleb attend his first international competition in Glasgow in March.

He hopes the added cash injection will help propel him closer to his goal of being selected for the Talent Inspiration Programme and ultimately to swim for England.

Charlie Strickland, 15, is already part of England’s under 18 golf team and won the 2014 Littlehampton Young Sportsperson of the Year Award. He scooped £250 towards coaching.

Daphne Belt, 75, is a world champion triathlete in her age group, and was given £400 to support her trip to the USA to join the 2015 World Championships in Chicago.

Mr Belchamber added: “The level of talent in our town is incredible, at all ages, as proven by Daphne, and the awards are the town council’s way of encouraging great sportsmanship in Littlehampton.”