Highland athletes receive funding to go the distance thanks to SportScotland
FOURTEEN Highland athletes have received grants from Sportscotland’s Athlete Travel Rewards Program.
The Athlete Travel Award program is a partnership between Sportscotland and the participating local authorities – Orkney Islands, Western Islands, Shetland Islands and Highland.
It aims to help high performance athletes – athletes with the potential to compete at a high level – to have better access to competitive and training opportunities without having to relocate from their community.
Athletes can apply for up to Â£ 1,500 through an application process, with athletes being required to demonstrate how the grant will improve their performance, give them access to quality training and competition opportunities to support their development throughout their sporting career.
Five of the 14 athletes are from Inverness and include Inverness Harriers runners Megan Keith and Stephen Mackay, badminton player Sophie Barrie, golfer Summer Elliot and rugby player Ollie Smith.
Mackay, who represented Scotland in the 3,000m and holds the Inverness Harrier record in the 1,500m, is no doubt that this extra support will make a real difference to Highland athletes like him.
âBeing in the north can be a bit of a disadvantage because you immediately have that extra cost to travel the route that you might not have if you are based in the central belt.
âSo this funding makes it easier to access the competitions and the training camp level that we need as full-time athletes.
âAs an endurance runner you have to spend a few months in altitude so next month I should go to Flagstaff Arizona to train with Jake Wightman which comes at a significant cost – maybe 2000 to 3000 Â£ per camp – the funding I was given covers a large percentage of this so this is crucial for us.
The 14 athletes are listed below.
Stephen Mackay, Athletics, based in Inverness
Summer Elliot, Golf, based in Inverness
Sophie Barrie, badminton, homeport Inverness
Shannon Pasotti, Rugby, based in Caithness
Ollie Smith, Rugby, based in Inverness
Megan Keith, Athletics and Orienteering, based in Inverness
Mark Boyd, Surf, based in Thurso
Lucas Cairns, Athletics, based in Fortrose
Jack Mann, Golf, based in Avoch / Ross and Cromarty
Douglas Goodwill, downhill mountain biker, based in Beauly
Danial Parfitt, downhill mountain biker, based in Fort William
Craig McLachlan, Surf, based in Thurso
Alice Kemsley, Orienteering, based in Nethybridge
Alexander Mackay, Athletics, based in Dingwall