Sports Scholarships

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black praises Sky Academy Sports Scholarships programme

Last Updated: 07/03/14 2:08pm

Neil Black: Was full of praise for the Sky Academy Sports Scholarships programme

Neil Black: Was full of praise for the Sky Academy Sports Scholarships programme

British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black has delivered a glowing endorsement of the Sky Academy Sports Scholarships programme and the way in which it helps talented, young athletes.

Speaking during an interview with Sky Sports, Black stated his belief that the work the programme does in providing additional support to that offered by governing bodies, such as British Athletics, cannot be underestimated.

"I think the concept of complimentary support and working together to have a maximum benefit for the athletes and the coaches is absolutely critical," he said.

"The (Sports Scholarships) scheme is a really beneficial one and what feels really good about it is the involvement and the discussion with myself as the Performance Director from the early stages.

"To discuss it, to be involved with the development of it, to understand it, to be supportive of it and to see how it complements the things that we are doing as an organisation and other similar schemes that are occurring and that are available to athletes.

"It feels joined up and it feels as though it adds value. It's a hugely positive addition to things that are naturally occurring to help athletes."


The fact that the programme is headed up by a former colleague at British Athletics, Tony Lester, created another aspect of Sports Scholarships that Black was impressed with.

Lester has coached a number of elite athletes over the years including the likes of Roger Black, Mark Richardson and Tim Benjamin, and as such Black revealed that he felt safe in the knowledge that the complimentary support offered was coming from someone who understands the needs of top level athletes.

"It certainly feels really important when you're working with someone that you know understands and have been on a journey with anyway, it makes it so much easier," added Black.

"Knowing Tony's background, knowing his application and how he goes about things helped a lot. It certainly made the early discussions much easier and more comfortable.

"As a result of that the understanding between Tony and myself was higher than it might be with somebody who didn't have a similar background or we hadn't worked together over many, many years.

"I'd say it's helped enormously right from the start and makes it easier it have conversations around the whats, the whys, the wherefores, the creativity, the what about, the could be do this or how do we do this better?"