Athletics: Holmes funds training project

Kelly Holmes has pledged £10,000 of her own money - and unlimited support - to the group of young middle-distance runners she began mentoring last year.

Kelly Holmes has pledged £10,000 of her own money - and unlimited support - to the group of young middle-distance runners she began mentoring last year.

The 35-year-old double Olympic champion, who announced last week that this would be her last full season before retirement, is also offering three of the group the opportunity to accompany her this summer for a training trip at a European venue.

"I don't want the On Camp With Kelly project to stop," Holmes told the group on Saturday. "Passing on my experience to other people is one of my passions, and I will be available as a mentor for you as long as your athletics careers go."

Holmes said that £6,000 of her funds would be available as training bursaries, with the balance available as incentive payments. She added that Reebok had also offered a kit contract for one of the group.

The scheme took shape in October when a group of eight athletes joined Holmes at her regular training venue in South Africa.

The athletes also received advice from Holmes' coach Margo Jennings. Jennings was the first person to hear of Holmes's plans for retirement, and she said she had reacted phlegmatically to the news. "It was her decision," she commented. "Kelly knows how much she has left in the tank."

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