Eight elite athletes from the Outer Hebrides are set to benefit from a scheme designed to support travel costs for island competitors.

This is the second year of the pilot Islands Athlete Travel Award Scheme supported by sportscotland whereby eight

local athletes from across the Islands will receive £1,500 to support their travel and accommodation costs in attending training and competitions. 

The overall aim of this scheme is to help talented athletes from the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to gain better access to competitive and developmental opportunities available on the mainland.

Applications were received from 28 individuals covering 9 different sports, highlighting the demand for increased support.  The overall standard was high, making the selection process appropriately challenging.

The following athletes will receive an award for 2019-20: -

  • Thomas Sludden        Mountain Biking
  • Georgia Amor            Women’s Rugby
  • Beth Macphail            Badminton      
  • Amie Ringstead          Basketball
  • Catriona O’Carroll       Women’s Football
  • Rachael Johnston       Women’s Football
  • Chloe Nicolson           Women’s Football
  • James Graham           Men’s Football

Councillor Angus McCormack, Chair of Education, Sport and Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work with our partners at sportscotland to support this innovative scheme for a second year. Our young people continue to show that they can compete with those from other areas of the country, given the opportunity. I wish them all well for the coming year.”

Councillor Charlie Nicolson, the Comhairle’s representative on Lewis and Harris Sports Council, participated in the selection process as an advisor and was impressed by the range and quality of the applications.

“Once again it was a pleasure to see the efforts that our young people, and their families, are making to participate at high levels in sport. I was impressed with the way the panel carried out the challenging selection process. I look forward to watching how all the athletes’ progress in the future.”

On the announcement of the successful athletes Garry Reid, Lead Manager, sportscotland said: “At sportscotland we recognise that athletes from island communities have additional challenges when training, competing and progressing in their chosen sports. That’s why we continue to invest in the Island Athlete Travel Award Scheme, giving talented athletes from the Outer Hebrides the support they need to reach their potential.

“We recognise the positive impact that sport can have on people and communities and the partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar ensures that we develop the pathways and resources that support people on the Outer Hebrides on their sporting journey.”

As part of their commitment to the scheme Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sport & Health team, alongside their coaches, will now monitor each athlete’s progress through the coming year.