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Financial help boost to Olympic hopefuls

PUBLISHED: 15:25 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:41 23 August 2010

PROUD: Emma Kent in action.

PROUD: Emma Kent in action.

TOP Olympic hopefuls have received vital funds to help in their bid to reach London 2012. Paralympic horse rider Emma Kent, 23, and fencer Aleksander Makucewicz, 18, have been named as part of 24 elite athletes singled-out by Kent County Council to recei

TOP Olympic hopefuls have received vital funds to help in their bid to reach London 2012.

Paralympic horse rider Emma Kent, 23, and fencer Aleksander Makucewicz, 18, have been named as part of 24 elite athletes singled-out by Kent County Council to receive £750 for training and living costs.

Mr Makucewicz, of Rowans Close, Longfield, is a member of Gravesham Fencing but now trains with some of the country's top coaches in Aldershot.

"The money is really for travel costs, to pay for training camps and towards entering competitions. This is the second year I have been given the money and it is extremely important," said the Dartford Grammar School student.

A specialist in Men's Foil, one of the most competitive fencing categories, Aleksander is realistic about his chances of making the Great Britain team at 2012 and is looking more towards 2016 in Brazil.

"In fencing most men reach their peak at around 24, 25 and remain there until 28, 29. I will be just turned 20 and only just come out of the juniors in 2012 so I think it will have come too soon for me," he said.

"I am keen to volunteer and hopefully will get the chance to see the fencing and see some of the guys competing at the very top of the sport."

Miss Kent, of Northumberland Way, Erith, has been in the saddle all her life and now trains at specialist disabled riding school Arrow Riding Centre in Darenth.

She suffers from Holt-Oram Syndrome which inhibits arm growth and also affects the heart.

"I was first put on a horse at just 18 months as part of what is called Hippotherapy to help with my condition and it just developed from there," she said.

London 2012 is very much within her sights where she hopes to be part of the Great Britain equestrian team in the para-dressage.

"I have two years of very hard work ahead of me, but it is definitely something I am aiming for," she said.

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