COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 13, 2013) – The Women’s Sports Foundation has announced that the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team is one of 27 recipients of its 2013 Travel & Training Fund grants. The WST will receive $6,000 to support the identification and development of new women’s players, and their effort to attain national team status.
Bill Hamiter, the High Performance Director for the Sitting Program said that he is "grateful for the work Elliot Blake has done on applying for this grant and that the Women's in Sport Foundation saw fit to award it. The Sitting Program has limited funds for athlete development and this grant will impact the lives of many developing sitting volleyball athletes," Hamiter continued. "Awards such as this make a difference on building a sustainable high level program."
The Travel & Training Fund provides direct financial assistance to aspiring athletes and teams that have significant potential to achieve higher performance and rankings. These grants allow serious female athletes to offset costs involved with coaching, specialized training, equipment, athletic attire and travel, thereby giving them a chance to fulfill their potential on the highest possible level.
“Typically, new athletes have to cover their own travel costs to attend a development camp since they are still getting a feel for the sitting game, while we work to teach and develop their sitting volleyball skills," Sitting Volleyball Coordinator Elliot Blake said. "We are able to provide athletes with housing and meals when they attend a camp at our National Team Training Site, the University of Central Oklahoma, but the real significant cost is the airfare to Oklahoma City which we cannot afford to cover. We have to thank the Women’s Sports Foundation for their efforts to support young women who are striving to achieve their lifelong dreams come true of reaching the Paralympic Games by allowing us to help offset some of those expenses for the athletes.”
The Women’s Sports Foundation was the first organization to offer grants to female athletes with elite potential. Between 1984 and 2004, 1,200 grants were awarded to over 950 women, many of whom went on to become national and Olympic champions. Past recipients include figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi, skier Picabo Street, and gymnast Kerri Strug.
Thirty-one Travel & Training recipients competed at the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Summer Games, eight of whom went on to win medals for Team USA.