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Aspiring NI Olympians receive game-changing bursary from gold standard energy provider

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Three new inspirational young athletes aim to secure European, Commonwealth and Olympic achievements with support from Power NI’s partnership with the Mary Peters Trust which provides funding bursaries for three young athletes - helping them get on track to achieve their sporting ambitions.

Runner Lauren Roy from Ballymena, Derry~Londonderry Judo competitor Callum Nash and canoeist, Afton Fitzhenry from Lisburn, have each been selected to receive a £2000 Power NI bursary to help them expand and improve their respective training and development programmes.

In addition to helping the upcoming sporting heroes get on track to achieve their sporting ambitions, all three have been appointed as ‘Power NI community sporting ambassadors’ with the aim of encouraging other young athletes to push forward and achieve their own sporting goals.

They join three existing ambassadors, triathlete Erin McConnell, wheelchair basketball player Conn Nagle and trampolinist Ryan Devine who received their bursaries in April 2019.

Champion sprinter and relay runner, 18-year-old Lauren Roy will use her bursary to cover travel and training costs during her gap year to concentrate on athletics. In 2020 she will be travelling to Portugal, Florida and Tenerife to compete in European and international championships.

Outlining some of her future plans Lauren said, “I’m proud of what I have already achieved, especially my ranking as number one in all of Ireland, however I feel as though I’m only getting started. My goals next year are to compete in the European Senior Championships and World Senior Indoor Championships, but the long-term plan is the 2022 Commonwealth Games and ultimately the 2024 Olympic Games.

“Thanks to Power NI and the Mary Peters Trust I can succeed in my training, wellbeing care and competing. The Mary Peters Trust is such an invaluable charity for up-and-coming athletes such as myself that need help and recognition to achieve for the future and I’m very grateful.”   

Ulster University computing technologies student, Callum Nash (20)is using his funding to help him train towards competing in the 2022 Commonwealth Games. 

This year Callum has competed in judo championships in the Junior European Cup in Bosnia and will be heading to the Continental Open, Senegal in November. Callum is currently ranked number one in all of Ireland. He is also part of the Irish team set to compete in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, and the Senior World Games. 

Callum said, “I’m so excited to receive this funding that is helping me attend the Oceania Cup in Australia where myself and my fellow competitors are striving to qualify for the Olympics next year.

“My funding grant will help with accommodation, travelling, equipment, sports clothing and membership fees allowing me to focus on excelling on the mat and reaching my sporting potential. I will proudly carry the Power NI and Mary Peters Trust names with me as I travel as an ambassador”

24-year-old canoeist Afton Fitzhenry is a full-time athlete ranked number one in her field in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the top ten in Europe. Afton is competing to gain a place in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In the future Afton hopes to work towards another Olympic cycle. Afton shares what the bursary means to her

“I’m so grateful for this generous bursary from Power NI. It is amazing that a local company wants to help support young people like me and my fellow ambassadors. The support of the Mary Peters Trust means I know I am following in the footsteps of other great local talent to hopefully shine a light on the wonderful sporting talent coming from Northern Ireland”

Stephen McCully, Managing Director of Power NI congratulated all three athletes saying, “Our continuing support of the Mary Peters Trust is a wonderful opportunity and represents a fitting collaboration alongside Power NI’s existing community programmes.  

“Sport plays such an important role in any society whether at provincial or Olympic champion level. Power NI’s goal is to put people at the heart at what we do, which is why we want to play our part in helping these three young people realise their sporting dreams as well as supporting Lady Mary and the tremendous work by her Trust.”

Lady Mary said, “The achievements of these three young people are nothing short of outstanding. They are inspiring role models for their peers and fellow athletes, and we are proud to support them to achieve their goals. I look forward to hearing about their successes in 2020.

“Funding support to help talented and hard-working athletes reach their potential has never been more important and I’m immensely grateful to Power NI for their financial contributions.”

The new Power NI backed community athletes’ initiative is part of a portfolio support package for the Mary Peters Trust which includes financial support for ongoing Trust fundraising events.

Since its inception after Mary Peter’s Olympic gold medal win at the 1972 Munich games, the Mary Peters Trust has impacted hugely on the sporting lives of thousands of young sports men and women both able-bodied and disabled. 

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