World class boost for Kirkcaldy athlete Derek Rae
Kirkcaldy Paralympian Derek Rae says a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders after being granted a year of funding from the World Class Programme (WCP).
The programme which brings together a number of different organisations to give funding and support to UK athletes and Paralympian Rae, who finished ninth in the Marathon at Tokyo 2020, says acceptance is crucial to allow him to function as a full-time athlete.
“Not only does it give financial support, it also, through sportscotland, allows me access to strength and conditioning, a physiotherapist, a nutritionist, a physiologist, a doctor, the whole lot,” he says.
Being given that support network is huge. The actual funding itself comes through UK Sport, but couldn't put a price on that.
"It allows me to live and train as a full-time athlete.”
The 35-year-old was first accepted onto the WCP in November 2014 and says he’s been grateful ever since.
He says: “I started working with the guys at sportscotland up in Dundee in January 2015 and since then it's been a strengthening relationship.
“There are conditions in your contract when you get accepted onto the WCP.
“Mine were kind of put to the side with the injuries I had in the build up to Tokyo, so to remain in the programme over next year there will be clauses in the contract that I have to hit to make sure I stay on the funding programme the following year.
“It's all performance based. The difficulty is that this year there were quite a lot of cuts to the programme. A lot of guys lost their place so I was very, very lucky to remain on funding.
“I'm obviously very grateful for that and I'm lucky to have a very supportive wife, Susan.
"It's a huge weight off my shoulders to get this funding clarification.”
With his future secure Rae started the first block of his winter training programme this week.
"The focus is now on what my team and I can target for next year,” he says.
"So I'll be running a half marathon in the spring, the London marathon in April then the World Championships in October.
"I just need to keep my eyes on the prize now and focus on 2022."