HIGH JUMPER Sommer Lecky and table tennis player Owen Cathcart have been chosen by Mary Peters Trust for the Bluefin Sport Insurance ‘Make It Happen’ Awards.
Selected and shortlisted from a talented pool of athletes, 18 year-old Sommer, who will represent Ireland at the European Indoor Athletics Championships this weekend in Glasgow, and 16 year old Owen from Belfast have been awarded £2,000 each to help them to the next level in their sporting careers.
Castlederg’s Sommer will use the money to fund coaching time with the British High Jump coach, Buzz Caan, and Owen, who now lives in Sweden, will also fund coaching time with two senior coaches based there – Ticken Carlson and Fredrick Hakasson.
Sommer said: “The past two years have been amazing and I am focused on achieving as much as I can. I won the Commonwealth Youth Games, Bahamas in July 2017, I finished 10th in the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April 2018 and I won a Silver medal at the World Junior Championships in Finland in July 2018, breaking the Northern Ireland and Irish U20 High Jump Record, I’m very proud of that.
“I have to thank my coach Niall Wilkinson we work really well together and my results are evidence of that.
“The next step is for Niall and I to gain valuable knowledge from Fuzz who has coached two athletes to Olympic medals in 2008 and 2012, alongside my coach I will benefit from the elite athlete environment he has created and the expert coaching he can provide based on the success he has had.
“I look forward to starting my 2019 indoor season taking in some competitions at home and abroad.”
Owen, who came through the ranks at Ormeau Table Tennis Club under the stewardship of Trillick brothers Gervis and Keith Knox, added: “The Bluefin Sport Insurance ‘Make It Happen’ funding will ensure that I can have one to one training with the two senior coaches based with me in Sweden.
“These One to One sessions are expensive but necessary, I haven’t been able to take part in any yet, but this will mean that I can. They will improve every aspect of my game, including technique, mental toughness and of course physical strength.”
Mary Peters, president of the Mary Peters Trust said: “These two are both very talented athletes in their respective fields.
“I understand exactly how difficult it is for Sommer training for a summer sport in wintertime as High Jump was one of my disciplines.
“I am so pleased to see their hard work and dedication rewarded, they have both achieved so much already. We support them as much as we can but costs keep going up, that’s what drives me on in my recovery, I want to make sure there is always support for athletes such as these even when I am no longer able to do it myself.”