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Top youngsters reap grant rewards

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Photo by Nicola MuirheadGovernment National Junior Athlete Sponsorship awards recipients at BUEI yesterday.left to right: Azari Thomas (hockey), Robin Horsefield (cycling), Kimmisha Perinchief (sister of Delray Rawlins), Sakari Famous (track and field), Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Jaylynn Hines (guest speaker, past recipient), Kristen Bean (equestrian), Raushon Tankard (basketball), Nathan Trott (football), Cecilia Wollmann (sailing) and Jakob Resnick (fencing).

The Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports yesterday handed out about $50,000 to 12 young athletes as part of Government’s National Junior Athlete Sponsorship programme.

Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin made the presentation at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, with show jumper Jaylynn Hines, a 2009 and 2010 awards recipient, also at the luncheon to offer words of encouragement to the student-athletes.

Funds donated to the youngsters through their sports’ governing bodies ranged from $2,640 to $6,108 and will assist with their development and exposure at overseas events.

High jumper Sakari Famous, who won a bronze medal at last month’s Carifta Games in St Kitts, was awarded $2,978 to have special coaching sessions with Dutch sports performance consultant Henk Kraaijenhof in Bermuda.

Famous, 15, has her sights set on competing in the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships in Russia, the Youth Olympics in 2018 and to attend a Division 1 university in the United States.

“It’s an honour to have this award and it is thoughtful of the people within the Bermuda National Athletics Association to think of me,” the Berkeley student said. “I am looking forward to competing on the bigger stages.”

Cecilia Wollmann, a top junior sailor, was granted the sum of $5,045 through the Bermuda Sailing Association to attend the Laser Radial Youth World Championships. The funds to go towards airfare, accommodation, equipment, boat fees and coaching.

“I’m really excited to get this award, it’s nice to get funding to help pay for stuff and hopefully this summer I can continue to do as good as I’m doing and to continue improving,” said the 17-year-old Saltus Grammar student.

“First this summer is the Pan Am Games which will be very hard and challenging but hopefully I can do well there.”

Delray Rawlins, who joins the Bermuda cricket team in Indianapolis for the ICC Americas Division 1 Twenty20 tournament starting this weekend, was granted $6,108 to attend St Bede’s College in England between September and December. Rawlins, 17, is one of the Island’s top young cricketers. Two years ago he made his debut for the senior national team and last year played his first Cup Match for St George’s.

Rawlins is studying in England at Bede’s and hopes to play first-class cricket after completing his studies. Last week he joined the Sussex Cricket Academy.

Triathlete Tyler Smith, the Junior Male Athlete of the Year, received $5,650 to aid with his development in the sport which includes the purchase of a Cervelo 55 racing bike. The 16-year-old attends Bermuda High School and was a 2013 recipient of the National Junior Sponsorship award.

Participants in sports like baseball, fencing, squash and basketball also received funding, with Adam Hall awarded $4,580 to assist with his development as a baseball player, having already received interest from some 40 colleges in the United States and Canada after participating in two Major League baseball scouting camps and twelve scouting showcases last year.

The funds will assist Hall, 15, and attending school in Ontario, Canada, to attend the Perfect Game World Batting Tournament with Arizona Diamondback scouting team in Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Ontario this year.

Jakob Resnick, 14, has been involved with the Bermuda Fencing Federation since the age of eight. Last year he spent time overseas training and competing and was the youngest competitor in the 2014 Junior/Cadet World Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

This year he plans to compete at the Pan American Cadet and Junior Championships as well as the 2016 World Cadet and Junior Fencing Championship. Funding provided yesterday will assist the Saltus student to attend the Cambridge Fencing Centre in Massachusetts for two weeks from July 20 to 31.

Squash player Dylan Pratt was awarded $3,660 to attend the Junior Caribbean Championships and the Canadian Junior Open Championships. This is the second year that Pratt has received an award. He has been playing the sport the last six years and already the 15 year old is one of the top junior players on the Island.

Raushon Tankard, 17, is a promising basketball player who aims to play at the collegiate level and to assist him in attending the IMG Core Basketball Camp in North Carolina, he has been granted $4,608 through the Bermuda Basketball Association.

Azari Thomas and Nathan Trott received $2,640 and $4,512 respectively to help them develop further in hockey and football respectively. Thomas is captain of the junior national team and is the deputy head girl at Saltus. She will use the funds to attend the Sportways Hockey Camp in Amsterdam.

Trott, a 16-year-old goalkeeper, dreams of becoming a professional football player and has already represented Bermuda at youth level. The funds will enable him to attend the European Pro Training Academy in England.

Equestrian Kristen Bean, 15, received $4,040 to enable her to attend the Fox Lea Horse Show in Venice, Florida.

She attends Mount Saint Agnes and plans to spend the next two summers training in Florida with former Grand Prix rider Allan Korotkin and elite trainer Susan Tuccinardi.

Cyclist Robin Horsefield, also 15, will receive $3,805 to attend the Ontario Cup races at Horseshoe Valley, Harwood Hills and the Canadian National Championships. Horsefield also plans to compete in the 2015 Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships, the 2016 Pan American Junior Mountain Bike Championships and the Junior Caribbean Mountain Biking Championships.

Award recipient: Sakari Famous. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)