Talented young England players receive financial support from SportsAid

Nineteen talented young players will receive financial support from SportsAid to support their progress after being nominated by Basketball England. 

The players are all currently part of the BE Talent pathway and the funding will help them as they aim to fulfil their ambitions via the Backing The Best programme. 

Managed by SportsAid for Sport England, it supports athletes who would face difficulties progressing through their sport’s talent development system without critical financial help. 

The players who will receive support are: 

Kofi Asare - Milton Keynes Breakers, GB U16s 
Myles Barry - London Thunder Basketball Club, England U14s
Kaiya Bateman-Nyathi - Milton Keynes Breakers, England U15s 
Khlye Capanzana – London Lions, GB U16s
Tiarna Chambers-Desmond - Derby Trailblazers, GB U16s
Elizandra Costa – Manchester Mystics, England U16s
Ziah Francis - Aquila Basket Trento, England U14s
Louisa Gibbins - Endeavour Ipswich, GB U18s 
Felicia Jacobs-Abiola - Southwark Pride Basketball Club, GB U18s
Benjamin Michaels - Long Island Lutheran (USA), GB U18s 
Irene Oboavwoduo - Manchester Mystics, GB U16s
Timothy Oboh - Kent Crusaders, GB U18s 
Elijah Omar - Brixton Topcats, GB U16s  
Sampson Onuoha – Newham Youngbloods, GB U16s
Athena Thompson - Milton Keynes Breakers, GB U16s
Megan Verbeeten – Sussex Storm, GB U16s
Rufus Wilkinson - Farnborough Phantoms, England U14s
Charley Woodman – Bristol Academy Flyers, England U16s
Kamilah Yakubu - Bristol Academy Flyers, England U15s 

Talent Delivery Officer Meehra Gorasia said: 

"We're delighted that the players nominated will benefit from this support. It means they will be able to continue to pursue their basketball ambitions with some targeted assistance.

"We hope it helps them to make the most of their talent and potential.” 

More about Backing The Best 

Backing The Best is supported by £5.5 million of new National Lottery funding which aims to level the playing field among England's brightest sporting prospects. The scheme was launched in 2016 after a new study, carried out by Leeds Beckett University, showed the rising cost of becoming a sports star had led to certain athletes having to drop out. 

All Backing The Best athletes must demonstrate outstanding ability to be eligible for the funding. They also have to show that, because of their family's financial situation, they might not get the opportunity to fulfil their potential without it. The awards are worth up to £5,000 per year to help cover expensive costs such as travel, accommodation and medical bills. 

Athletes benefit from a yearly workshop where they are given expert advice on performance lifestyle management, nutrition, sports psychology and telling their story through the media. Parents have their own specially adapted sessions focusing on these areas as well as a discussion on growing relationships with prospective sponsors.  

*This article was initially published on 27.7.2023. Additional information has been added with nine more players now receiving support.