Enfield sprinter Laviai Nielsen has been singled out for her sporting achievements and handed a prestigious spot on the 2015 Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport programme.

Nielsen is in world class-company on the programme, with the likes of Jade Jones, who won gold at the Olympic Games in 2012 in London in taekwondo, one of the first recipients of an Academy of Sport bursary back in 2010.

The 18-year-old, who is the reigning European Junior champion over 400m, experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity last week as she attended a workshop hosted by World Cup winner Lewis Moody and also included guest lectures from the likes of Sharon Davies and Maggie Alphonsi on nutrition and mentoring.

Only 276 star athletes have been awarded with an Academy bursary since 2010, with 35 per cent of Jaguar Land Rover Academy alumni progressing to professional or world-class funding level – which demonstrates the huge potential of Enfield & Haringey AC’s Nielsen in the years ahead.

She said: “I started with cross-country through school and two years ago I did an 800m race which is quite a drop in distance and my coach, who wasn’t my coach back then, came up to me and said ‘have you tried sprinting?’ I thought it was too short as I had just come down from cross-country but he said I should give it a go and I haven’t looked back since.

“I started training for the 400m two years ago and have been competing ever since.”

The Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport is an initiative which aims to recognise, celebrate and inspire the next generation of British sporting talent through a world-class mentoring programme.

This year the Academy has provided bursaries to 50 young and inspirational able-bodied and disabled athletes, who are recognised as being top of their game.

As well as offering financial support, a mentoring and education programme provides these rising star athletes with the non-financial support they need to help them on their road to success.

Ambassador Moody, who spent time working with the athletes, is convinced Nielsen has a hugely exciting future.

“Being mentored as a young athlete is key,” said Moody, who helped England claim Rugby World Cup glory in 2003.

“There’s so much information out there which I think I missed as a young man, and all you’ve got to do is go out and ask the questions.

“So I’d tell them all to make sure they never lose the enjoyment of their sport, because if they enjoy something they will want to be better at it.”

Laviai Nielsen attended the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport workshop, mentored by ambassadors Lewis Moody and Maggie Alphonsi and SportsAid patrons Danny Crates, Bryan Steel and Kerri-Ann Payne. For more information visit sportsaid.org.uk.