Para-lawn bowler Kieran Rollings is one of the five young athletes selected by Team England to receive the Sir John Hanson Young Talent Scholarship ©Team England

Team England has selected five young athletes to receive the Sir John Hanson Young Talent Scholarship, designed to help them on their progression towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. 

The winners of the scholarship are triple jumper Abazz Shayaam-Smith, rugby sevens player Abigail Burton, judoka Kelly Peterson-Pollard, Para-lawn bowler Kieran Rollings and squash player Lucy Turmel.

With the next edition of the Commonwealth Games in three years' time, each athlete striving to compete at the event will receive £10,000 ($12,000/€11,000) to support them in achieving their sporting goals.

Rollings made his Team England debut in Para-lawn bowls at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

He became the youngest-ever English lawn bowls competitor, playing in the Para-triples event at just 18 years of age and placing fourth alongside Michael Robertson and Paul Brown.

"I’m over the moon to be selected," Rollings said.

"It will help me train and perform 100 times better and I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.

"With the help of the scholarship, I'll definitely be looking for my place at the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and after the experience of the Gold Coast in 2018 I’ll be looking for that prestigious gold medal."

Rollings is the only athlete selected who has had the experience of competing at a Commonwealth Games. 

For the other four winners, the funding is designed to give them an opportunity to progress through to the Team England selections, boosting their chances to compete for the nation on home soil in 2022.

Triple jumper Abazz Shayaam-Smith, left, is among the quintet of recipients ©Getty Images
Triple jumper Abazz Shayaam-Smith, left, is among the quintet of recipients ©Getty Images

Peterson-Pollard and Shayaam-Smith are both from the West Midlands and admitted they are relishing the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games coming so close to home.

"It means so much to be part of Team England and to be given this opportunity and funding to perform to the highest of my capabilities," Peterson-Pollard, an eight-time Continental Cup judo medallist who is from Sutton Coldfield, said.

"Being part of this scholarship programme motivates me for my early years of becoming a senior and will allow me to travel and compete, gaining vital experience to push me to the next level and hopefully qualify for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in my home town of Birmingham."

Under-20 national triple jump champion Shayaam-Smith trains at the Alexander Stadium, where athletics and Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held during Birmingham 2022, and lives in Walsall.

"Receiving this scholarship is a very proud moment for me and I can’t wait to work with Team England, building my talent towards the Games in Birmingham in three years’ time," she said.

Turmel is mentored by Laura Massaro, winner of three Commonwealth Games silver medals in squash.

She has won a number of British titles and was also crowned European junior champion in 2018.

Burton, meanwhile, joined the England women’s rugby sevens programme in June 2018 and made her debut in the World Sevens Series in October the same year.

In the competition to win the funding, Team England received more than 70 full applications that met the selection criteria and were supported by sporting governing bodies.

The £50,000 ($61,000/€55,000) award was made possible by a private donation from former British diplomat Sir John Hanson.