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Jack will train with elite stars he aims to emulate on big stage

By Frank Brownlow

Jack Agnew knows all about striking gold. And his ambitions have been boosted by his Mary Peters Trust 'Make it Happen' award.

Two are selected annually from a short list of elite athletes considered by the awards committee to be capable of moving up to the next level in their sporting development.

Jack's £2,000 award, supported by sports insurance broker Bluefin Sport, will help finance the 16-year-old wheelchair racer's training and competition costs.

The Belfast teen won three gold medals for Team GB, and recorded a Personal Best, at the recent Brazilian National Championships and though this year's Paralympics in Rio come a bit too soon for Jack, Tokyo 2020 should be his golden moment.

Jack, whose next major assignment is the London Marathon on April 24, has a bright future ahead, ranked as he is at number one in GB in his age group and in the top 10 overall.

Jack's dad Jim Agnew outlined some of the specific opportunities that would open up for Jack as a result of the award.

"The grant will be used to cover the costs associated with travel to ensure that Jack has the opportunity to train with the very best athletes in his class and to access the very best coaches in wheelchair racing," he said.

"There is an opportunity for Jack to be selected to represent GB&NI for the IPC World Junior Championship in Switzerland in 2017 and for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

"It is important for his development to experience a mix of training and coaching methods.

"It is also important that Jack gets the opportunity to train with the best athletes. This can only be achieved with careful planning and a lot of travelling.

"Building relationships with the top athletes and coaches will lead to opportunities in the future.

"With the best training available, results on the track will improve and as a consequence so will the chances for national selection.

"There are a number of training days in London where Jack will get the opportunity to train with some of the best athletes in GB including multiple Paralympic gold medallist David Weir. David's coach Jenni Archer is one of the top wheelchair racing coaches in the world."

Jack may also have the opportunity to train at the Swiss Silver Bullet training camp in Nottwil where all the Elite athletes are based as well as the high performance centres at the University of Illinois and Loughborough University.

Jack is currently in his GCSE year and combines training six days a week with schoolwork.

Eilish Rutherford, Chair of the Mary Peters Trust, said: "This support from Bluefin Sport is invaluable to our charity. These large awards are designed to give the selected athletes a boost in their sporting careers with funding that will give them the opportunity to target a skill or technique to help their competition and give them a competitive edge.

"It is even more important in light of the budgets that are continually being cut in all aspects of sport at present.

"Oisin and Jack are perfect examples of young athletes who are dedicating all their efforts into being the best that they can be in their chosen sporting field and we want to help them as much as we can."

Belfast Telegraph


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