MAY 17 - A PAIR of Bristol athletes are to be given the opportunity to train in Kenya as part of the city's Olympic partnership with the East African country.

Funded by the John Rutley Sport Fund, Springboard Plus aims support the emerging talent of young Bristol athletes providing them with the chance to train at the home of two-time Olympic gold medallist and chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee (KOC), Kip Keino.

The initiative, which is part of the Bristol Kenya 2012 project, will provide funding for two middle/long distance runners to experience a week-long training programme at the Kip Keino High-Performance Taining Centre in Eldoret, which is the forefront of elite-level training for runners in Kenya.

The Bristol-Kenya 2012 agreement is a multi-faceted partnership that will see Bristol hosting the Kenyan Olympic team for a pre-Games training in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The John Rutley Sport Fund was established in January 2007, following a donation of £100,000 for community sport in Bristol by Bristol businessman, John Rutley.

The fund is managed and led by the University of Bristol’s Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health to develop a range of projects that will help young people in Bristol enjoy sport and activity.

Applications are invited from individuals and through their clubs by submitting an application form, which is available online from Bristol University's Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health or the England Athletics website.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by a panel that includes representatives from the University, the John Rutley Sports Fund and England Athletics.

Karen Harvey, the community sport development manager at Bristol University, said: ”The initiative aims to support the identification and development of young elite athletes in Bristol using the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and their legacies as inspiration for excellence."

Keino, the 1968 Olympic 1500 metres and 1972 3,000m steeplchase gold medallist, is the godfather of Kenyan distance running.

Since winning its first Olympic medal - when Wilson Kiprugut claimed a bronze at the 1964 in the 800 metres in Tokyo - Kenya has won a total of 68 medals in athletics.

Richard Gwyn, head of performance and development co-ordination at England Athletics, said: "England Athletics fully supports this exciting athlete and coach development initiative through the John Rutley Springboard programme.

"This is a golden international opportunity to experience the Kenyan world-leading endurance programme in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The selected athletes will be accompanied to Kenya by a fully qualified UK Athletics accredited coach and mentored by two University of Bristol high-performance athletics team athletes.