Imogen Drew 3 1200

21 June, 2023

Wiltshire junior badminton player Imogen Drew is among the recent beneficiaries of a county sports scholarship designed to help the brightest sporting prospects in the county.

Imogen, 12, has benefitted from Wiltshire Council’s scheme for the past two years, over which she has developed greatly and has become one of the best age-level players in England.

Such financial support is available across a range of different counties across England, and can have a significant impact on the young athletes who benefit, such as Imogen’s story below.

Scholarship Overview

Every year, Wiltshire Council provides 10 talented athletes aged between 8 and 18 years old a grant of £500 to enable continued development in their respective sports with a view to challenging for honours at the highest level of their sport.

This funding can be used to help individuals access training and competitive opportunities, purchase equipment and to cover transport costs for attending regional or national events.

Imogen Drew 2 1200

Imogen Drew 2 1200

Past recipients of the scheme in Wiltshire include Badminton England’s para badminton Paralympic silver medallist Dan Bethell, and modern pentathlon Olympic champion Kate French.

Why Imogen Applied

After taking up badminton aged nine through the North Wiltshire Badminton Project, Imogen’s passion for the sport developed during the first lockdown, where she took part in several online and virtual challenges run by NWBP.

Imogen first started competing at U13 at the end of 2021, initially medalling frequently across singles and doubles events.

Imogen’s dream is to represent Team GB at the Olympic Games. Even with the backing of NWBP and their Sponsors YC Sports and Yonex, the fees involved to be in a position to continue to compete at this level are extensive.

How The Grant Is Used

Imogen has been a beneficiary of the grant for two consecutive years now and that has helped her cover basic costs, such as gym, training and restringing fees.

However, it has also lessened the burden of travel fees, allowing her and her family to travel more widely and compete in more competitions across England.

Because of this, Imogen has improved immeasurably and is now regularly winning medals across a range of junior competitions and classifications, up to U15 level.

The next step for her is to start competing at an international level, something she hopes to achieve this year.

Coach Feedback

Mel Vickery L3 head coach at the North Wiltshire Badminton Project: “I am not surprised that Imogen has won this award for a second year running. She has invested last year’s award wisely with devotion to her ambition and this has been startlingly apparent to Wiltshire Council’s Board of Investors through the marvellous progress she is continuing to make on the national junior stage.”

Parent Feedback

“We are so proud of Imogen and her determination to succeed and we would love to see her fulfil her long term dream of playing for England.”

Scheme Information

More information about the Wiltshire County Council Scheme can be found here, though counties and local authorities across England run similar schemes.

Badminton England advises that any parent or player interested consults their local county or authority website to see what assistance could be available.

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