They are spreading their wings to Adelaide, Bulgaria, and Belgium in the coming months and eight young Whanganui athletes have received a helping hand as the latest recipients of the Mitre 10 Mega Futures Champions Trust funding grant.

The grants, given out biannually in two funding rounds, which close in March and September, have previously totalled around $1000-1500 for each recipient.

This latest round has a larger group, with eight recipients sharing a split of just over $7000 for their various international events.

They were acknowledged at a ceremony yesterday afternoon at Columbus Café.


Whanganui's double Olympic medallist Rebecca Scown was able to attend in her role as the Future Champions Trust Ambassador.

The current group include canoeists Jack Clifton, Lucas Thompson, Liam Lace, and Sophie Brooke, who have just represented New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Regatta in Adelaide.

Clifton and Lace will be going on to the ICF Canoe Sprint Junior World Championships, being held in Bulgaria in July.

Also on the water, rower Nathan Luff has been selected for the New Zealand Under 21 squad who will travel to meet Australia in a series next month.

From the world of equestrian, Rebecca Benge will be representing New Zealand at the World Championships in Belgium this August.

Motocross standout James Rountree is attending the Australian Championships in October, while speedskater Drew Brennan was at the Oceania championships, held in Timaru in April.

"We are very grateful to our naming rsponsors...and a number of other Whanganui businesses and individuals who continue to commit to supporting these hard working and talented young people, said trust chairwoman Philippa Baker-Hogan.

"These young people are some of our best role models to other youth in their schools and communities.

"However the cost of these trips are high and we try and take the pressure off these young people and their families, to help them to concentrate on performing well."

Sponsorship comes from Mitre 10, H&A Print, Display Associates, Inferno Design, Sport Whanganui, Central City Pharmacy, Wanganui Lions Club, Doyle & Associates Ltd, Hogan Osteo Plus, Kelly Associates, Richard Millward & Associates, Markham & Partners.

The next round of funding closes on September 30, and athletes can visit to check the criteria and access an application form.

Businesses interested in contributing to the trust can also visit the website or contact Baker-Hogan.