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Funding boost to help rising stars Beth Coulter and Matthew Teggart fulfil dreams

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Bursary winners: Matthew Teggart and Beth Coulter pictured with Lady Mary Peters and Alyn Spratt of Bluefin

Bursary winners: Matthew Teggart and Beth Coulter pictured with Lady Mary Peters and Alyn Spratt of Bluefin

Stephen Hamilton

Bursary winners: Matthew Teggart and Beth Coulter pictured with Lady Mary Peters and Alyn Spratt of Bluefin

Kirkistown Castle golfer Beth Coulter (15), who competed in January's Portuguese Ladies' Amateur, and Banbridge Cycling Club's Matthew Teggart, now based with French cycling team Amicale Cycliste Bisontine in Besancon, have each been awarded a £2,000 grant towards their future career development.

The Mary Peters Trust, alongside Bluefin Sport, annually recognises young sports people who are reaching the top of their game and require additional funding to help them cross the line to the next level in their chosen sport.

Teggart (24) has competed twice in the Tour of Britain as part of Team Wiggins and by 2021 aspires to ride with a professional cycling team and ultimately take part in the Tour de France.

"Signing a year-long contract for a top French amateur team and fully immersing myself in cycling as well as training in a warmer climate will help me reach my potential and hopefully long-term secure a full-time professional team role," he said.

"This Bluefin Sport grant will be of huge benefit to my sporting career and I want to throw all that I have at this fabulous opportunity to push myself forward.

"As well as helping cover travel and living costs, the funding has enabled me to purchase my own power metre - a vital piece of technology to measure and evaluate my training.

"Knowing that I have significant financial backing also allows me to fully concentrate on cycling as opposed to dealing with any ongoing financial challenges.

"I'd like to thank the Mary Peters Trust and Bluefin Sport as their support is hugely significant and I simply wouldn't be able to chase my ultimate dream of one day riding in the Tour de France without this funding."

Teggart, who started cycling when he was 16, comes from a sporting family as brother Stephen plays football for Portadown while mum Heather and dad Neil are both involved in cycling.

Neil was part of the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998 and Matthew's grandfather Noel Teggart competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

"I was very young when my grandfather passed away but the stories that I've heard from my family and other cycling fans are an inspiration and it's wonderful that Lady Mary, who won her gold medal at the same Olympics, established a Trust that continues to support young athletes like myself," added Teggart.

During 2019, Irish representative golfer Coulter, from Portaferry, won the Irish Girls' Close Championship as well as the Munster Girls' and Munster Women's Championship. She also represented Ireland in the European Championships in Spain and in the Home International Series the Irish team finished a close second to England.

She also competed in the Nick Faldo Invitational in Florida and the British Women's Amateur Open, playing against top players from all over the world.

The teenager, who is currently studying for her GCSEs and is also a camogie All Star, took up golf at Ballygalget Primary School and developed her game at Kirkistown Golf Club close to her home.

Beth's dad Conal said: "As a family our focus has been more on hurling and camogie, but Beth went on a golf training programme aged 10 and has never looked back. Kirkistown Golf Club have been so supportive in helping Beth drive forward to reach her potential at all levels."

Coulter's ambition for after her A Levels is to win a golf scholarship in a top US college, leading to a professional career. Her Bluefin award is being used to purchase a bespoke set of clubs as well as specialist one-to-one coaching focusing on her short game, long game and putting.

"Last September I partnered with a new coach, Chris Jelly, and he is masterminding specific training sessions on each element of the game to help me further develop my skills and tactics and ultimately win more competitions," explained Coulter.

"Alongside my studies at Our Lady's and St Pat's, this year's tournament schedule includes the Irish Girls' Open, the French U21s, the British U16s and the Irish Women's Open.

"My grant will be a massive help in terms of travel and accommodation for all these competitions and I'd like to thank the Trust's selection committee and the team at Bluefin Sport."

Belfast Telegraph