LANDING a spot on the Olympic Development Programme couldn’t have come at a better time for Peebles mountain biker Calum Magowan, writes Joel Lamy.
With Glasgow 2014 hovering into view, the 16-year-old Peebles High School pupil has enjoyed just the sort of summer that could seal him a spot at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The mountain biking will take place at a purpose-built cross-country course within Cathkin Braes Country Park, and should suit Magowan – who won the Under-16s British Cross-Country Championships – down to the ground.
The Alpine Biking rider’s 10th place at the European Championships in Gratz, Austria, won’t do any harm either – and helped to propel the Peebles rider onto the Olympic Development Programme in 2013.
“The British Championships was probably my biggest goal for the year,” said Magowan.
“A lot of my year was focused towards it so it was nice for it to all pay off.
“There was a lot of competition and there were a lot of new guys coming through this year – a lot of Scottish riders, actually.
“We’ve been pushing and pulling each other along. A lot of competitions have been a lot closer and a lot harder. Getting on the development programme means a big deal.
“It’s a big stepping stone into British cycling.”
Among Magowan’s heroes is senior British champion Grant Ferguson, only three years his senior, but who already has a fourth-placed World Championship finish to his name.
Magowan may be some way from catching up with Ferguson yet – he is still studying for his Highers at school – and the young protégé has his feet firmly on the ground.
“He’s right up there, top 10 in the world and only three years older than me, so it’s quite close,” he added.
“I’ve not thought about changing my type of cycling, not yet. Just now, mountain biking is where I’m best, it’s where I develop best.
“In future it will be easier for me to go from mountain biking into another discipline than changing at this point in time.”
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, has supported 170 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes. As part of Bank of Scotland’s commitment to helping future sports stars prosper, the programme will continue in 2013.
Follow future stars at www.bankofscotland.com/localheroes