ST ANDREWS steeplechaser Halina Rees has been hand-picked as a future British Olympian after being chosen to be part of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative.
The 17-year-old St Leonards School pupil will receive a cash injection of £1000 towards training and competing and is one of only 82 youngsters selected from across Scotland.
Rees attended the launch of the scheme at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre, where she rubbed shoulders with Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards and World Championship bronze medallist Lee McConnell.
And after admitting she’s taking a step into the unknown in 2012 in moving up to the 3000m steeplechase, Fife AC ace Halina says her recent recognition is just the confidence boost she needs.
She is just getting back into running full time, having been sidelined by an ankle injury for January and February. She said: ‘‘It’s an honour to be picked, and the financial benefits are big because to get into good quality races I need to travel down to England quite a lot.’’
“The World Junior Championships is something I’m aiming for this year and it would be amazing to get there. But I haven’t run a 3000m steeplechase before so I am not sure how quick I can run one and how hard it will be to qualify.”
In total, 346 talented athletes are part of the programme with 264 Lloyds TSB Local Heroes in England and Wales also receiving funding towards training and competing.
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1000 athletes. Follow future stars at facebook.com/bankofscotlandlocalheroes