POULSHOT'S Yasmin Kaashoek insists her career can hit new heights after being selected for a prestigious athlete support scheme.

The 17-year-old volleyball ace is one of just 100 young athletes selected to be part of the SSE Next Generation programme, in conjunction with SportsAid, which identifies the potential podium stars of the future.

Earlier this month, Kaashoek attended a workshop at the SSE Swalec in Cardiff, where she received specialist mentoring, nutritional advice, media training and financial support.

Kaashoek, who attends LeAF Studio School in Bournemouth, is already well on her way to achieving her podium dream, after taking part in the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers with Team GB.

And while the team were unsuccessful in qualifying for the Games next month, Kaashoek remains confident that with SSE by her side, her Olympic dreams can one day become a reality.

“I really enjoyed the day, I’ve loved it and it’s been a really good insight,” she said.

“It’s really great to have the support of SSE and SportsAid behind me and I really appreciate it.

“All the funding and guidance I get is a great help and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their financial support.

“Volleyball isn’t well funded in England so I have to pay for all my competitions myself, so it’s really nice to have that backup and know that people are really rooting for you.

“I’m really proud to have been selected for the scheme. It means a lot to have been chosen out of thousands of other athletes in England who are wanting to achieve high, and it’s been really nice to be noticed.”

Also in attendance at the event was former Bath and England international rugby player David Flatman, an ambassador for the scheme’s partner charity, SportsAid.

As well as holding one-on-one mentoring with the athletes, Flatman also passed on his own advice and guidance for the youngster embarking on their sporting careers, and he admitted he had been impressed with the athletes he met.

“I’ve been here mentoring some very, very promising young athletes from England and Wales, and also talking to their parents about how to handle these super talented, super motivated kids,” said Flatman, who won 161 caps during his nine year spell with Bath.

“Some of it was on elite performance and how to get the best out of yourself, take the best care of your body as well as your mind. They were really good, lovely kids.

“It is great for young sportspeople to meet guys that have been there and done it, like me.

“I don’t mean that I was the best or I was the man, I wasn’t, but I have been through the whole ‘being a promising youngster’ to becoming a full professional and international.

“For these kids, if they take one nugget away from something I or one of the other guys have said, then that is enough, you are winning because I remember what an impact it had on me.”

SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen