STRATFORD archer Caitlin McCarthy has been hand-picked as a future British Olympian after being chosen to be part of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes initiative.
The 16-year-old will receive a cash injection of £1,000 towards training and competing and is one of only 264 youngsters selected from across England and Wales.
The Stratford upon Avon Grammar School for Girls pupil attended the launch of the scheme at Wembley Stadium, where she rubbed shoulders with Olympic diving silver medallist Leon Taylor.
And McCarthy – a Royal Leamington Spa Archery Society member – admits her recent recognition will be just the confidence boost she needs ahead of a hectic 2012 season.
“It’s so nice to get this recognition not just for myself but for my sport,” said McCarthy, who also was treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Olympic Park in East London.
“It’s helped my friends understand that what I’m doing is something I take very seriously because they don’t always realise how much hard work I have to put in.
“It’s such a fantastic feeling to be involved with the scheme and to know that people want to help you achieve your goals.
“I’ve got the Junior National Outdoor Championships coming up in July at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre and the money will be such a help with travelling and accommodation costs.”
In partnership with SportsAid the Lloyds TSB initiative is designed to ensure more talent reaches the top of their sport.
In total 346 talented athletes are part of the programme with 82 Bank of Scotland Local Heroes north of the border also receiving funding towards training and competing.
And McCarthy was not the only local success story as Henley-in-Arden’s Farrell Treacy was also selected.
And the short track speed skater struggled to contain his delight, admitting that the financial support would a huge boost ahead of next season.
“It makes me very proud to have been chosen,” he said.
“I feel like I’m making the right progress now and the funding is a real boost to help with travelling and equipment but it also means I know my hard work is being recognised and I’m doing something right.”
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes
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