LOCAL lad Tom Coulter is one of five young sailors given a unique chance to boost his training and skills after being awarded funding from the Mary Peters Trust.
The 15-year-old from Galgorm is among 70 young competitors from 20 sports to avail of this much appreciated windfall.
The talented teen was in impressive form last year, despite the stop-start season due to Covid-19.
Among his haul of top titles was being named the 2020 RYA (NI) Youth Champion - the top NI Youth sailor overall.
The Ballymena Academy pupil was in top form in the RYA NI Youth Championships at Ballyholme.
Tom, who who has switched to the Laser Radial Class, was in competition with over 90 others.
Racing took place over two days and the fleets were split to reduce overall numbers on site each day to mitigate risk in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.
Tom was presented with his trophy by Jackie Patton, Chairperson of RYANI.
The teenager thanks the Mary Peters Trust for naming him in the funding list.
Lady Mary, who won pentathlon gold at the 1972 Munich Olympics, founded her Trust soon afterwards to aid the development of young, home grown, sporting talent, and in the intervening years has aided many thousands to achieve their sporting goals.
"Our awards are made to support and accelerate sporting careers. The Trust recognises how difficult it has been to train and compete during the pandemic and we are delighted to continue their funding in order to provide financial assistance,” outlined Lady Mary.
"For over four decades the Trust has supported our young athletes and they are fantastic ambassadors for our country. I am proud of the all those receiving this latest round of funding for their dedication to continue in their sport during difficult times."
RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Manager, Andrew Baker, said they are very proud of their talented athletes.
“Funding is always a key issue for aspiring athletes and it is fantastic that the Mary Peters Trust have invested in our young sailors. This funding will make a big difference and will allow our sailors to develop their skills and continue with their training and competitions,” he said.
* Other sailors receiving funding from the Mary Peters Trust are Lauren McDowell (Dundonald), Dan McGaughey (Newtownards), Erin Mclwaine (Newcastle), and Dan Palmer (Bangor).