Mario's looking for backing

Mario Santos Costa has a dream – to compete for Great Britain at London 2012. The teenager from Great Ashby in Stevenage is already making waves in the world of canoeing. He is part of the GB canoeing team which is training and working towards competing i

Mario Santos Costa has a dream - to compete for Great Britain at London 2012.

The teenager from Great Ashby in Stevenage is already making waves in the world of canoeing.

He is part of the GB canoeing team which is training and working towards competing in the Olympics in four years' time.

The former Nobel schoolboy also enjoys football, golf, running and going to the gym.


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But it is canoeing where his focus is after answering an advert run by UK Sport in February 2007 to recruit sporting talent called Sporting Giants - London 2012 (for men over 6ft 3ins).

He passed a series of tests at various venues including the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham to become one of the final 10 from more than 1,000 male and female triallists.

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Intensive training sessions involving two 10-day camps and various weekends followed before he was selected into the final six and began full-time training in January. leaving his job as a shop fitter.

Mario admitted: "I could not believe it and am extremely pleased to have been given this amazing opportunity."

Based in Nottingham, he has a full-time coach and trains for four or five hours daily for six days a week.

Mario is being supported by the Stevenage Community Trust to the tune of £600.

The trust supports sporting excellence in the area and helps in giving sporting hopefuls with a chance of competing at international level much-needed sponsorship.

Last year the trust supported a number of budding sports stars including javelin ace Neil McLellan and teenage gymnast Ivan Bulyha.

Mario has received a grant to help with travel, equipment and training costs.

He was recommended by Sport Stevenage and his latest competition experience included a regatta in Nottingham.

In his main race, the 500m singles, he won his heat and then went on to win the final.

After four other races that day and two more long races the next day, he competed in the other important race for him which is the 1000m singles. He again managed to win his heat, and then managed fourth in the final.

Mario has reduced his time in this by 25 seconds over the last two months and an important milestone was also reached recently.

He achieved the qualifying time (2:10 over 500m) three months early for moving on to his next contract in September.

Frank Warburton, director of the trust, said: "We are extremely glad to have been in a position to help Mario. He has a real chance of doing Stevenage proud and we wish him the best of luck in the competitions to come."

If you are interested in sponsoring this Olympic hopeful call 07970 178820 or email santos_costa_28@hotmail.com

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