Hillsborough tennis star Sam Bothwell was recently granted the chance to speak to leading experts in the sports industry at the Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy Masterclass at Kingspan Stadium.
Sam, alongside five of Northern Ireland’s top young athletes, enjoyed one-on-one guidance to help them progress in their sports career.
This year’s Dale Farm Athletes, in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust, were local tennis star Sam, Conor Ferguson (swimming), Ben Fisher (athletics), Liam Glynn (sailing) and Brendan Irvine (boxing).
Ulster Rugby star Dan Tuohy was among the local experts who provided advice and shared with the athletes what it means to be a professional sports star, from dealing with tough training to making time for family and friends.
The five athletes also spoke to sports nutritionist Dr Sharon Madigan about the importance of eating well, sports psychologist Dr Mark Elliott about maintaining mental toughness, and sports journalist Jim Gracey about dealing with the media.
Louise Bothwell of Hillsborough was also in attendance to offer parents tips about raising an elite athlete.
The Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy Masterclass is one of the benefits provided to the five athletes selected through a competitive process to join the Dale Farm Athletes’ Academy each year.
In addition to attending the masterclass, the athletes also receive a £1,000 bursary to assist them with the costs of being an elite athlete, such as buying equipment and traveling to competitions abroad.
Speaking at the Masterclass, Dr David Dobbin CBE, Dale Farm’s Group Chief Executive said: “As Northern Ireland’s leading dairy company, Dale Farm is committed to supporting local sport, from grassroots right through to the professional level.
“Working with the Mary Peters Trust, our Athletes Academy programme and Masterclass provides the best of our young sporting talent with financial support and mentoring to help them compete at the highest level.
“Dale Farm’s vision is to encourage consumers to lead a healthy, active lifestyle by getting enough dairy and making exercise a priority.
“This year’s five Dale Farm Athletes are great role models for leading a healthy lifestyle and they are great ambassadors for local sport as they compete on the world’s stage.
“We are proud to be supporting them and we hope everyone at today’s Masterclass will be better equipped to succeed as they continue on their journey in sport.”
Dame Mary Peters CH DBE, President of the Mary Peters Trust, said: “Today’s masterclass is a great opportunity for young athletes as many will never get the chance to sit down at the start of their career one-on-one with experts like the mentors we have today.
“Competing at the international level is a significant and expensive time commitment, so we would like to thank Dale Farm for continuing to support Northern Ireland’s future sports stars.”