British Triathlon's preparations for medal success at the 2012 London Olympics received a £1million shot in the arm yesterday with the announcement of a major sponsorship deal.
The two-year agreement with steel giant Corus is focused largely on assisting the development of potential medal-winners. Two leading under-23 triathletes - Will Clarke, aged 21, and Helen Tucker, 22 - will receive cash awards to assist their training.
But the deal also elevates the sport of triathlon, in existence in this country for only 24 years, on to a new commercial level. Triathlon joins Olympic sports rowing (Siemens) and athletics (Norwich Union) in agreeing lucrative sponsorship deals with major companies. Corus record an annual turnover of £10 billion.
British Triathlon chief executive Norman Brook said: "We were at a stage in our growth where we were starting to nudge towards being attractive for a premier sponsor. London winning the Olympics accelerated that. A lot of the sponsorship that has previously come into the sport has been geared up for the triathlon market. This is a major FTSE 100 corporation saying 'we want to be identified with your sport'. That is a huge sea-change for us."