Truro youngster Melissa Jane has been selected for a prestigious sporting programme and will follow in the footsteps of Olympians Tom Daley OBE, Hollie Arnold MBE, Jodie Williams, Courtney Tulloch, Morgan Lake, Emma Wilson, and Alex Yee MBE.

Jane, who has been singled out by charity SportsAid as an athlete with the potential to reach the top of sport, has been balancing the demands of school life while continuing to train for the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in New Zealand next month.

Aged just 18 Jane already has an impressive CV of achievements, including finishing in the final eight at the World Fencing Championships in 2022 - but the Truro native has her sights set on much more.

“To medal at an international competition is my main goal for next season,” she said.

“Ever since I first got selected to represent Great Britain - which was the first time I thought ‘Wow, I’m actually kind of good at this’ - I’ve wanted to compete at the highest level.”

Jane was first selected as one of only four girls in her age group to represent Team GB for both the European Cadet and Junior Championships in 2022, but this has only further fuelled her ambition.

In pursuit of making this dream a reality, Jane is following in the footsteps of her former coach and GB national coach, Jon Salfield, by taking a gap year and moving to London later this year.

“The plan is to go to culinary school after that, but this year is my last year in the U20 age category, so I really want to make the most of that as it’s going to be a major opportunity for me,” she said.  

“It will be intense, high-level training for me - maybe five times a week - but I really do prefer having a lot on my plate.

“I hate having nothing to do. When I was at school I would come back from a two-hour training session and feel ready to work - my brain was switched on. Whereas if I came back from school without having that time away, it was hard to stay motivated.”

It was at primary school that Jane first started fencing aged six, although she credits her two older brothers’ for instilling the competitive streak that inspired her to pursue the sport.  

“Probably the reason why I’m so competitive in everything that I do is down to them [my brother’s] but luckily I’m the only one in the family who fences.

“I do put a lot of pressure on myself, just because I know how hard I work and when there’s a competition that I want to do well in, there’s a lot riding on me and only me.”

SportsAid supports over 1,000 athletes each year – the vast majority aged 12 to 18 – by providing them with a financial award to help towards training and competition costs. This acts as a real motivational boost as it is often the first recognition they receive outside of their support network. Most of them rely heavily on their parents as they have no other funding.

These athletes are Great Britain's brightest sporting prospects. They are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria from each. The typical value of a SportsAid award is £1,000 with money generated through a combination of commercial partnerships, trust and charitable funds, and fundraising activities.

Jane said: “SportsAid has really helped with fuel money because there’s so much travelling I have to do. The funding has given me flexibility because I don’t need to worry about train costs or petrol.

 “With fencing I don’t have time to be able to get a job. My friends have saved so much through working, but I don’t have the time to do the same alongside my training.

“Receiving funding takes away the pressure for my parents too because they also don’t always have to worry as much about how much everything costs.

“I always go looking for funding because it’s just so hard to get in this sport, so SportsAid has taken away a lot of worry.”

Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit to find out more.