TALENTED young athletes aiming for medal success in the Tees Valley Sport Future Champions initiative are being helped to chase their dreams with free training facilities.

All qualifying athletes in Darlington can access free Dolphin Centre facilities to support them with their training.

The Future Champions programme is a flagship project forming part of the Tees Valley London 2012 Legacy Action Plan.

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The scheme supports Tees Valley's talented athletes and players aged between 12 and18 years who are participating in regional and national squads in selected sports.

To be eligible for consideration for the scheme, the young athlete must participate at regional or national level in a squad which is led by the sport's national governing body (NGB) and athletes must not be receiving other performance related funding.

Athletes accepted on the scheme are supported with a free bespoke physical development training programme from a highly qualified team of staff at Teesside University.

This includes physiological testing, weekly strength and conditioning workshops and tailored support to meet their goals; plus free and subsidised access to local sporting facilities to help them fulfil their training goals and achieve their potential.

As partner to the scheme, the Dolphin Centre offers free gym and swim access to all athletes on the scheme, plus additional specific training opportunities where appropriate.

Councillor Andy Scott, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “This is an excellent way to help young and talented athletes to develop further in their chosen sport.

“Successful athletes can be good role models for other young people who may be encouraged to get more involved in sport.”

More information and application forms are available at teesvalleysport.co.uk/2012_legacy/future_champions