Sailing class is child's play for Conor Quinn
A 16 year-old student from Rostrevor is the latest recipient of a Rainbow Communications Sports Award, in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust.
Conor Quinn, who attends St Colman's College in Newry, took up sailing at the age of 10 and started racing only a year later.
The funding will aid his continued development and international sailing ambitions.
Conor said: "I was quite a late starter as most sailors take up the sport at an earlier age. How I got into sailing is quite a funny story. My childminder was going on holiday and my mum looked into options for what I could do while she was at work. Her friend told her about a sailing course and she put my name down for it. I'm very glad that she did.
"I love sailing, because every day on the water is different. There is so much you can gain, or lose, in a race within a couple of seconds so it is really important to always concentrate fully and work your hardest.
"Due to the length of time practice sessions take, during term time I normally only get out on the water at weekends. During the week I follow a strict fitness programme so I am in the gym three times a week and also go running or cycling. But during the summer, I train out on the water every day if I can.
"To date, my biggest achievement was being crowned Irish National Champion in 2014. It was a very proud moment for me and it was great to see my name on the trophy along with some of the legends in Irish dinghy sailing including World Champions and Olympic athletes.
"I recently moved into a new class of boat, Laser Radial, so in the coming months I aim to get a lot faster in the boat as well as stronger and over the next couple of years, I hope to represent Ireland internationally."
Stuart Carson from Rainbow Communications, Northern Ireland's largest independent business telecoms company, said: "It is fantastic to see that Conor has such determination to excel at sailing. He uses every opportunity to learn how he can improve and do better and this is a great sign of a true sportsperson. With this attitude, I am confident that he will go far."
Dame Mary Peters added: "I am constantly surrounded by talented young sportsmen and women and I wish everyone had the opportunity to meet them like I do. They lead lives that are packed full of sporting commitments and travel arrangements but they still need to find time to attend school and complete homeworks and I love to hear their stories. These Rainbow Awards are invaluable to them."
To find about how you can apply for the award, visit www.marypeterstrust.org.