British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has signed up snowboarders Ben Kilner and Zoe Gillings - two of TeamGB’s best hopefuls for the forthcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.
British Airways will support the athletes with flights to visit the world’s best snowboarding destinations, such as Vancouver, vital for training and competition. Ben and Zoe will also promote the BA Great Britons Programme a £500,000 travel fund offering flights for budding British talent.
Currently ranked the number one snow sport athlete in the UK and fifth in the world, 24-year-old Zoe Gillings from the Isle of Man, is no stranger to competing at high profile events. She competed in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games to secure 15th place and has since gone on to win a number of titles, including the highly coveted ‘British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year’ this year.
Speaking on the partnership, Zoe said: “International training is essential to maintain the necessary standard in snowboarding. I understand how important the BA Great Britons Programme is for budding talent to achieve their dreams, which I’m proud to be supporting.”
Fellow Briton, 21-year-old Ben Kilner from Aberdeen, Scotland, is also one of the UK’s best snowboarders. Ranked 23rd in the world, he recently achieved first place in the halfpipe at the British Championships.
Ben said: “My focus this year has been to master the halfpipe so I can challenge for a podium position at the Olympic Winter Games. The support from British Airways is crucial to the success of my training, as I need to fly to the best destinations for snow to practice.”
Luisa Fernandez, British Airways global sponsorship manager, added: “We’re very proud to support Zoe and Ben in their dreams and know they will do us very proud at the forthcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to receive support from the airline - the BA Great Britons Programme is open to all levels and interests.”