Scottish medal hopefuls have received a welcome boost ahead of three major games next year, after 65 of them were selected for sportscotland's Athlete Personal Awards (SAPAs).
Athletes, from across 16 sports, bidding for podium places at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast or at the winter Olympic and Paralympic, in PyeongChang, have been allocated £312,250 for additional training, competition and living expenses support.
This initiative was introduced for London 2012, Sochi 2014, and Glasgow 2014, and proved extremely successful with 30 medallists at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games having received SAPAs and the wheelchair curlers delivering bronze at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi.
sportscotland has now invested almost £1.5 million and supported over 120 high performance athletes through this initiative, which provides financial assistance targeted at athletes with medal-winning potential.
Reaping the rewards
Individual beneficiaries from the latest round of awards include boxers Sean Lazzerini, Lee McGregor and Aqeel Ahmed, who are all in action at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg later this month.
In addition to the Commonwealth Games sports, seven winter sport athletes vying for a place on Team GB and ParalympicsGB will receive support. All three curling teams are also set to benefit; Team Muirhead and Team Smith have already booked their Olympic places in PyeongChang, while qualification for the Paralympic curlers is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.
Speaking at Boxing Scotland’s Performance Centre in the East End of Glasgow, where the awards were announced, Director of High Performance at sportscotland Mike Whittingham said: “We know that the sportscotland Athlete Personal Awards can make a real difference to athletes with podium aspirations, and it is fantastic to be able to give this support at such an important time for these 65 athletes who have their sights set on the 2018 Commonwealth, Olympic, and Paralympic Games.
“These awards are designed to ensure that Scotland’s athletes can focus on their ideal training, recovery, and injury prevention strategies. At this level in high performance sport, medals are won by the smallest of margins and that requires meticulous preparation and support.
“SAPAs complement the work of the ‘team behind the team’, the network of support from the governing body, the clubs, the coaches, the families and of course the specialists at the sportscotland institute of sport.
"By working together we can ensure that the athletes who represent Scotland on Team GB, ParalympicsGB and Team Scotland are fully prepared to deliver on the world stage.”
Boxer Sean Lazzerini said: “The support I already receive from Boxing Scotland and the sportscotland institute of sport has had a big impact on my training and competition, but this award will make a huge difference to me as I focus on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“I have the world championships coming up later this month which will be a fantastic opportunity to see where I am against boxers who will also be in the Gold Coast next year.
"I know I can compete at that level and the SAPA award gives me the security I need to deliver when it really counts.”
Athletes receiving 6,000 SAPA
Craig Benson: Aquatics (Stirling)
Mark Szaranek: Aquatics (Glenrothes)
Chris Bennett: Athletics (Glasgow)
Callum Hawkins: Athletics (Elderslie)
Mark Dry Athletics: (Loughborough)
Andy Butchart: Athletics (Dunblane)
Steph Twell: Athletics (Aldershot)
Allan Smith: Athletics (South Queensferry)
Eilish McColgan: Athletics (Dundee/Manchester)
Kirsty Gilmour: Badminton (Glasgow)
Reece McFadden: Boxing (Motherwell)
Lee McGregor: Boxing (Dalkeith)
John Docherty: Boxing (Montrose)
Sean Lazzerini: Boxing (Glasgow)
Aqeel Ahmed: Boxing (Motherwell)
Boris Crighton: Boxing (Aberdeen)
Scott Forrest: Boxing (Lanark)
Aileen McGlynn: Cycling (Glasgow/Manchester)
Louise Haston: Cycling (Edinburgh)
Craig MacLean: Cycling (Grantown-on-Spey/Wilmslow)
Neil Fachie: Cycling (Altrincham)
Alex Marshall: Lawn Bowls (Tranent)
Paul Foster: Lawn Bowls (Troon)
Darren Burnett: Lawn Bowls (Arbroath)
Neil Spiers: Lawn Bowls (Broxburn)
Lesley Doig: Lawn Bowls (Newburgh)
Micky Yule: Powerlifting (Edinburgh/Southampton)
Jennifer McIntosh: Shooting (Edinburgh)
Seonaid McIntosh: Shooting (Dollar)
Sian Bruce: Shooting (Dundee)
Angus McLeod: Shooting (Edinburgh/Surrey)
Ian Shaw: Shooting (Westbury)
Fiona Crowden: Shooting (Brechin)
Alan Clyne: Squash (Edinburgh)
Greg Lobban: Squash (Edinburgh)
Lisa Aitken: Squash (Montrose)
Alex Gladkov: Wrestling (Glasgow)
Viorel Etko: Wrestling (Oldmeldrum)
Alex Tilley: Alpine Ski (Torphins)
Charlie Guest: Alpine Ski (Perth)
Andrew Musgrave: XC Ski (Insch)
Andrew Young: XC Ski (Huntly)
Callum Smith: XC Ski (Inverurie)
Matt McCormick: Park & Pipe (Glasgow)
Scott Meenagh: Para Nordic Ski (Cumbernauld)
Athletes receiving 5,000 SAPA
Aileen Nielson: W/C Curling (Strathaven)
Angela Malone: W/C Curling (Glasgow)
John Doyle: W/C Curling (Stonehouse)
Gregor Ewan: W/C Curling (Elgin)
Robert McPherson: W/C Curling (Bellshill)
Hugh Nibloe: W/C Curling (Castle Kennedy)
Athletes receiving 500 SAPA
Billy Allan: Para Lawn Bowls (Cowdenbeath)
Garry Brown: Para Lawn Bowls (Kirkmuirhill)
Barbara McMillan: Para Lawn Bowls (Cowdenbeath)
Mike Nicoll: Para Lawn Bowls (Jedburgh)
Michael Simpson: Para Lawn Bowls (Auchtermuchty)
John Wardrope: Para Lawn Bowls (Ayr)
Robert Barr: Para Lawn Bowls (Glasgow)
Billy Edgar: Para Lawn Bowls (Saltcoats)
Irene Edgar: Para Lawn Bowls (Saltcoats)
Maria Spencer: Para Lawn Bowls (Dunfermline)
Sarah Jane Ewing: Para Lawn Bowls (Dunfermline)
Ron McArthur: Para Lawn Bowls (Falkirk)
Christine Morrow: Para Lawn Bowls (Dalmuir)
David Thomas: Para Lawn Bowls (Ardrossan)