THE Sir Steve Redgrave sports bursary award has been shared this week for the first time in its history.
Rising England hockey stars Jack Clee and Liam Sanford will split the £2,500 grant after the judges were unable to separate them.
Not even a phone call to Sir Steve himself could decide it, with the five-time Olympic gold medalist making the final decision that the bursary should be jointly awarded.
It stands to reason.
The pair have enjoyed almost identical careers and their playing history together goes back to when they were both just six.
Richard Clee, Jack’s dad, said: “They’ve both been through very similar experiences. They played at Marlow together from about six to 11 and they’ve both been in the England set up for three years, playing for the U16s and U18s.”
Jack Clee, who is still at Marlow, and Wycombe HC’s Sanford, hope to continue their England experience again this year.
The pair have come through a number of training sessions with the U18s already and a squad of 30 will be cut to 24 or 25 at final assessments next month.
Richard Clee said: “The grant is a tremendous help, to be honest.
“There are a lot of training camps in Lilleshall so that’s a lot of petrol money and you still have to contribute when they go overseas.
“It all adds up, but most of the cost comes from travelling and new kit.”
Second place went to Wycombe District Swimming Club star Luke Thomas, who will swim at the Commonwealth Games trials in Glasgow in April.
Pentathlete Sarah Collin was third with smaller grants going to Durrel Charles for basketball and rower Fraser Russell.
Cllr Ian McEnnis, chairman of Wycombe District Council, said: “Each of the six short-listed candidates has already achieved so much and we will continue to support them in their future sporting careers.
"This year, because the judges were so struck by the talent, motivation and determination of the athletes, we have joint first place winners.
“Jack Clee and Liam Sanford both compete in hockey and are the lucky recipients of £1,250 each and have the honour of saying that they won the Sir Steve Redgrave sports bursary."