Local sports stars enjoy a unique masterclass

The five chosen athletes who are part of the Dale Farm Athletes' Academy l-r Peter Bothwell, Annabel Wilson, Casey Jo Bell, Megan Marrs and Ian Sloan. Pic by: Simon Graham / Harrisons
The five chosen athletes who are part of the Dale Farm Athletes' Academy l-r Peter Bothwell, Annabel Wilson, Casey Jo Bell, Megan Marrs and Ian Sloan. Pic by: Simon Graham / Harrisons

Five of Northern Ireland’s most promising sporting talents were given access to a unique Masterclass event at Kingspan Stadium recently.

The Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy Masterclass, in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust, brought together athletes Casey Jo Bell (gymnastics) from Lisburn, Peter Bothwell (tennis) from Hillsborough, Megan Marrs (athletics) from Belfast, who trains with City of Lisburn AC, Annabel Wilson (golf) from Aghalee, and Ian Sloan (hockey) from Stewartstown for a day of interactive training workshops with experts from across the world of sports.

As well as gaining insight and advice first-hand from Paralympic skier and Gold medallist Kelly Gallagher and Ulster Rugby Scrumhalf Paul Marshall, the five young athletes had one-on-one guidance sessions with sports nutritionist Dr Sharon Madigan, Ireland’s leading sports psychologist Dr Mark Elliott and sports journalist Jim Gracey.

Following a competitive application process each year, the Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy selects five of the top local rising sports stars, who require assistance to develop their career internationally.

As well as attending this unique Masterclass event, each athlete is presented with a financial bursary from Dale Farm towards furthering their career.

Speaking at the event, Kelly Gallagher said, “I am delighted to be taking part in the Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy. It is really encouraging to see a local company supporting local sports and I’m proud to meet these five athletes who are so committed to being the best they can be in their chosen sport.”

Jason Hempton, Commercial Director – Branded Products, Dale Farm said: “This Masterclass gave our five athletes the chance to learn directly from some fantastic ambassadors for Northern Ireland sport, to ask questions, share experiences and further their skillset in everything from managing nutrition to handling media interviews. The hope is they will come away with practical advice that they can use in developing their career. ”

Dame Mary Peters CH DBE, President of the Mary Peters Trust, said: “This is a great experience for our five young athletes, I wish I had access to this type of Masterclass in the early stages of my sporting career but things were very different then. I am delighted with our continued partnership with Dale Farm and hope that it will endure. NI sport needs forward thinking commercial companies like Dale Farm to help create the stars of the future.”