James' cash boost for Commonwealth quest
Northern Ireland's top young judo exponent, 19 year old James Reid, from Belfast is the latest recipient of the Rainbow Communications Sports Award, in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust.
The cash award will help the province's current junior and senior Judo Player of the Year with travel and training costs as he bids to move up to the next level in the art by entering more international competitions.
The Belfast Royal Academy student first got involved in judo at the age of five, encouraged by his mum and dad.
"Although I also enjoy rugby, judo is my first love," he insisted. "Judo is the type of sport where you can also learn from your defeats as well as successes and to date I'm delighted to say that I have enjoyed many more victories than losses.
"I currently train three or four nights each week followed by strength and conditioning sessions with my coaches and team-mates. My short term goal is to be placed or even get a medal at the European Cup. Long term, I am focusing on the Commonwealth Games. The last 12 months have given me a real thirst for more success, having won a number of prestigious events on the UK mainland as well as winning the first ever gold medal for judo at the Sainsbury's School Games.
"I'm very fortunate to have a great team behind me, encouraging me all the way. My philosophy is that there's always room for improvement and there's always something bigger and better to aim for."
Stuart Carson of Rainbow Communications, Northern Ireland's largest independent business telecoms company, said: "We are very proud to team up with the Mary Peters Trust every month to lend our support and encouragement to dedicated young sportspeople. James is a proof of the adage that if you're good enough, you're old enough!
"To be awarded both junior and senior Player of the Year accolade by the NI Judo Federation in the same year is really something special."
Dame Mary Peters added: "We have a lovely group of young and very impressive Judo competitors at the minute who still find time to support my Trust at many events and I especially want to thank James Reid, his family, his fellow Judo friends and coaches for bringing so much success to Northern Ireland and also for 'giving back' with his time and talent. James is definitely one to watch."
To find about how you can apply for a Rainbow award, visit www.marypeterstrust.org.