Local supermarket gives funding boost to young athlete

PORTLETHEN Asda events co-ordinator Margaret Beedie pictured with promising young rower Gary Wilson and store manager David Ritchie.
PORTLETHEN Asda events co-ordinator Margaret Beedie pictured with promising young rower Gary Wilson and store manager David Ritchie.

A LOCAL supermarket has given a promising athlete a welcome boost by presenting him with a £500 bursary.

Asda Portlethen awarded young North-east rower Gary Wilson (19) the funds to help support him in his sporting career as part of their Sporting Chance initiative, which is run in partnership with charity SportsAid.

It is the third year the supermarket has taken part in the community sports scheme, which gives children across the UK the opportunity to take part in free sport sessions, whilst supporting some of the country’s most promising sporting talent.

Stonehaven swimmer Sara Hamilton was last year’s recipient.

Gary, who works in Portlethen, said: “I began rowing about seven years ago. I was involved in football at school but started to get a bit bored of it so decided to have a go at rowing. I really enjoyed it and have stuck at it since then.

“I started off rowing at Aberdeen Schools’ Rowing Association and with them went to national championships and regattas throughout Scotland, Britain and Belgium.

“My first big win was when I was 14 taking bronze in the Mens’ J14 doubles, then I came second in the Mens J16 doubles at the Ghent Spring International regatta. I was selected to row for Scotland Junior in 2009 and 2010 at the home countries regatta.

“Since I turned 19 I have moved up age categories from Junior 18 to the Under 23 or open category. Along with the new age group I have moved clubs from ASRA across to Aberdeen Boat Club (ABC) and because of this I am rowing with a new bunch of people. So all in all it is a big change.”

Gary added: “I am currently getting ready to head to Ghent in Belgium for a training week. At the end of the week I will be taking part in the Ghent Spring regatta which will be a tough test but will give me a good idea of how I am going to get on this year.

“In the next year I would like to be selected for the Scotland senior team and aim to try and get a medal at the British championships. The money from the bursary will go towards paying for regatta fees and transport costs which will be a big help.

Store manager David Ritchie said: “We’re in our third year here and we have had a lot of contact with our athletes so it is great to be part of. It’s good to be doing something locally.”

For more information visit www.asda.com/athletes.