YOUNG athletes with aspirations to compete at an Olympic Games have been picked to benefit from an initiative designed to help them realise their potential.

A total of 20 sporting talents, including nine who study at high schools in Northwich, will graduate from the West Cheshire Institute of Sport in April following a 12-week programme.

The scheme, devised by Sport Cheshire with funding support from Cheshire West and Cheshire Council, was launched during a ceremony at Chester Rugby Club this week.

It will provide guidance to teenagers, as well as their parents, on how to hone a range of skills including mental, movement, strength and conditioning.

They will be advised too on what to eat and on lifestyle choices.

“The programme offers these young people with a strong foundation,” said Clr Stuart Parker, executive group member for culture and economy.

“After being part of it, we hope the athletes go on to achieve great success in their chosen sport.”

Golfing brothers Jack and Tom Duncalf, both members at Sandiway Golf Club, are joined by Northwich Rowing Club’s Lawrence Williams and promising triathlete Elliott Totterdell-Lambert from County High School Leftwich.

Discus thrower Jenny Pyatt, rising track star Ellie Jackson and talented footballer Ella Pemberton have been selected too.

Thomas Rascagneres, a skier, and rugby player Libby Finn complete the list of students from Northwich schools.

They listened to a speech from Olympic gold medallist Tim Baillie, a canoeist, during Tuesday’s opening.

He described making his debut at London 2012, where he won the slalom C2 event, detailing too the highs and lows of a career that has taken him to the top of his sport.

“All of the feedback we’ve had so far has been wholly positive,” said Matt Parker, deputy chief executive at Sport Cheshire.

“We had more than 50 applications from a wide range of sports, all of a high quality.

“Our challenge was to find a balance between those who play more traditional sports and others from less well known disciplines like fencing or skiing.

“It’s early days, but the signs are encouraging.”