By Julian Wellings
East Glos junior performance tennis player Olivia Rook is to be supported by Gloucestershire charity CASS and Friends.
CASS & Friends (Cotswold Athletes Support Scheme) was set up by Fiona Carter in 2015 to assist young athletes in the Cotswolds financially with their training and participation in Olympic sports. The organisation became a charity in 2017.
Once budding athletes progress from foundation levels to compete at county, national and international level, the costs of participation start to rise, and there is nothing currently in place to assist them. National Lottery and Sports Aid funding is available for the elite, but getting to the top levels is a long arduous journey and the costs for a typical family can be prohibitive.
CASS & Friends cannot help every athlete with every piece of expenditure, but they can make a contribution which may make the difference between following a dream and having to give up.
Olivia, 15, started playing tennis at the age of four with her Dad, Brian, a tennis coach.
Since then she has reached a national singles final in the 14U age group and national doubles final in the 16U age group won two national doubles titles in the 18U age group and has consistently been ranked in the top ten in singles in Great Britain in her age group.
She is now competing regularly in women’s British Tour events and has also competed in several ITF junior events around Europe, reaching a semi-final in doubles in Belgium last year.
Olivia’s goal is to continue competing in women’s British Tour events and ITF junior events around Europe and beyond, to further develop her game and improve her junior world ranking, with the aim of qualifying to play in the junior grand slam events.
As Olivia progresses, her costs will rise to include the need to participate in tournaments all over the world in order to achieve her world ranking, and being part of CASS & Friends will provide support for this
CASS & Friends founder and trustee, Fiona Carter said, “We are delighted to have Olivia on board and recognise that her talent is really helped by her attitude and love of the game. She is training extremely hard, and we know she’s going to have a fantastic year.”
• CASS & Friends plans to take on five new athletes in 2019 and have currently filled two places, one of which is Olivia. If you know of any Cotswolds-based junior athletes who could benefit from support, please contact Fiona Carter at CASS & Friends. You can find the selection criteria here.