PEEBLES siblings Grant and Hannah Ferguson have taken a big step closer towards realising their Olympic dreams after receiving a £1,000 cash boost from the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative.
And the mountain biking duo are desperate to prove their worth at this year’s World Junior Championships.
Grant, 17, and Hannah, 16, who both attend Peebles High School, are returning members of the scheme that also provides them with expert tuition from the likes of three-time Olympic champion Katherine Grainger.
As the senior sibling, Grant is more established on the international scene and has last year’s World Cup series under his belt which culminated in a 15th place finish at the World Junior Championships in Canada.
But he’s desperate to return to the world stage this summer before he graduates to the senior level – and sister Hannah is determined to join him.
“It’s a real boost to be back on the scheme, as in the two years I was on it I learned a lot and benefited from the programme,” said Grant.
“I’ve got a World Cup series planned and, hopefully, selection for World Junior Championships in Switzerland at the end of the year, so I’ll need to get some results on the board.
“I see it as an apprenticeship, a couple of years learning the sport and then go for it. It would be a massive bonus being on the scheme. You just need results to get noticed and show improvement.
“With all the cycling at 2012, it’s a good time to be involved in the sport. Hopefully one day I’ll get to go to the Olympics myself. And it would be great to be involved for Commonwealth Games selection in Glasgow.”
And while the World Cup series is about to kick-off in South Africa, Hannah is targeting making her bow when it rolls round to Dalby Forest in Yorkshire.
“The scheme allows me to race in more areas as the money is a really good help that comes in useful all year,” she added.
“My aim for the year is to compete in a World Cup and then after that I want to push on to compete at the big multi-sport events.
“London 2012 is going to be too early for me, but Glasgow 2014 and beyond is definitely a target of mine that I’m looking forward to taking on.”
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond.
Follow Scotland’s future stars of TeamGB and ParalympicsGB at www.bankofscotland.co.uk/localheroes