Young Newtonhill rower makes waves

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NEWTONHILL rower Morven Shaw has been fast-tracked as a future British Olympian after being handpicked to join the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative.

The 16-year-old Portlethen Academy pupil will receive a cash injection of £1,000 towards training and competing and is one of only 82 youngsters selected from across Scotland.

Shaw attended the launch of the scheme at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre, where she rubbed shoulders with three-time Olympic rowing silver medallist Katherine Grainger as well as receiving media training with Olympic triple-jump champion Jonathan Edwards.

And the Aberdeen School’s Rowing Club member was the first to admit that coming face-to-face with Grainger, also from the Granite City, was just the boost she needed as she prepares for the summer season to begin in earnest.

“It was a complete surprise and a shock to receive the letter telling me I’d made it onto the scheme. It makes you feel like you’ve really achieved something,” said Shaw.

“It’s a really happy moment when you realise you’ve been noticed and someone is willing to put money into you doing your sport.

“The financial backing helps a lot – rowing regattas aren’t the cheapest to travel to. Travelling from Aberdeen to Nottingham takes around seven hours, and we’re doing this sort of journey almost every week.

“Hopefully I get to go down to London and see some of the Olympics, because it’s amazing to see top-class rowing – the power and the standards they set – I just hope that can be me one day.”

In partnership with SportsAid, the Bank of Scotland, as part of Lloyds Banking Group, initiative is designed to ensure more talent reaches the top of their sport.

In total 344 talented athletes are part of the programme with 262 Lloyds TSB Local Heroes in England and Wales also receiving funding towards training and competing.

And Scottish rower Grainger, who has taken silver at the last three Games, believes Shaw’s selection on the scheme will see her deliver on her impressive potential.

“The concept of the scheme is fantastic because it’s helping people out at a really crucial stage of their athletic career when there is not a lot of funding or support,” said Grainger.

“Being at the workshops and seeing the athletes was incredible. They were really exciting to meet because they are really passionate about what they do and you do just think that people like Morven are the talented future without doubt.”

Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Follow Scotland’s future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at: www.bankofscotland.co.uk/localheroes