Truro-born ‘paddling prodigy’ Benji Cabrera wants to make the most of being part of SportsAid’s Next Generation programme, fuelled by Aldi, by developing himself as a person.
SportsAid supports over 1,000 young athletes each year by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs while also delivering personal development opportunities to athletes through workshop sessions.
Aldi are now working in partnership with SportsAid to support twenty young athletes on their journey to becoming future Olympians and Paralympians – including Cabrera – and helping them to eat like a champion.
The Truro and Penwith College student has already shown his quality in a canoe, finishing first at the British Open National Championships in the Under-18 K4 5k.
The 18-year-old hopes that the opportunities provided by Aldi’s SportsAid programme will help prepare him for all the challenges an athlete can face outside of sport.
Cabrera said: “I think it will be helpful to develop as a person because, at this age, everyone can be a bit childish, but people need to realise that we are turning into adults.
“Especially when you have got a lot of people looking at you, you have got to show that you are responsible.
“So many people do not get this opportunity, and I just need to make the most of it and use it to develop myself.
“The SportsAid funding is going to help me with a lot of different things like expenses because going around the world is awfully expensive, and it can be quite hard to get funding at this age.
“It will help me travel so I can train and compete with the best thing.”
Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than sixty sports based on set criteria.
The Aldi-supported athletes will be receiving a £2,000 award through SportsAid. Aldi will also support their twenty athletes with a £25 monthly voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
After coming through at Fowey River Canoe Club, Cabrera finished 9th in the under 18 categories at the Marathon World Championships.
He added: “I’m in the transition stage, I mainly drive myself to training, and I’m doing a lot of things myself at the moment.
“There are just a few things that I still rely on my parents for though. Mum still makes my food.
“There is definitely an extensive range of sports available in Truro, and you are surrounded by a lot of people who know how to do Watersports and who are great athletes as well.
“It is really important that SportsAid and Aldi continues to support young athletes because they often find it hard to get funding, and when you live somewhere on the side of the country, it can be hard to get to those crucial selection races.”
Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and Paralympics GB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, Paralympics GB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024