Financial boost for local athletes

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Eight local athletes have received a financial boost from the Mary Peters Trust.

The Trust has awarded £33,000 to over 80 sports men and women, including eight from Lisburn, to help fulfil their dreams of competing professionally, during the charity’s bi-annual ‘Podium Programme’.

James Pentland is presented with his award. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

James Pentland is presented with his award. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Supported by George Best Belfast City Airport, the Podium Programme also provided attendees, their coaches and parents, with a rare opportunity to learn from industry experts on how to enhance their careers with masterclasses in health, communicating with the media, managing their online presence, nutrition, strength, and conditioning.

The seminars were delivered by Paralympic Gold Medallist, Michael McKillop; Munster Rugby Strength and Conditioning Coach, Feargal O’Callaghan; renowned Nutritionist for the Institute of Sport, Laura Mahoney; Digital Communications Manager for Belfast City Airport, Carly Rodgers; and UTV Sport Correspondent, Ruth Gorman

Dame Mary Peters CH. DBE, President of the Mary Peters Trust, said: “The first round of our 2015 Podium Programme, with support from Belfast City Airport, has seen our biggest single financial handout in the Trust’s 40 year history.

“Competing professionally can be extremely costly for both the athlete and their guardian and for many, without financial support, this would not be possible. I am delighted that through the Trust we can present financial awards based on the skill, commitment and achievements of the young athlete, allowing them to reach their true potential.”

Dame Mary Peters continued: “We would like to thank Belfast City Airport for their support and hope the athletes are inspired by what they’ve learned and go on to join other beneficiaries such as Rory McIlroy, Carl Frampton and Jimmy Kirkwood, by becoming deserved sports ambassadors for Northern Ireland.”

Margaret Curliss, of Belfast City Airport, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Podium Programme and look forward to seeing all the fantastic young athletes we have met through the Trust achieve their goals and become the next generation of local sport superstars.”