For a number of years, Whiteburn, through our partners Red Sky Management, sponsored an initiative we called “Athlete of the Quarter”. We provided quarterly leg-up sponsorship to up and coming athletes, who were trying to make it onto the big stage and were striving to attract the support to allow them to commit fully to their sports mission.
Each quarter, Red Sky selected one of their athletes for the prestigious award of ‘Whiteburn Athlete of the Quarter’. The selection was based on an athlete they believed would benefit most from the support at the time. During 2014/2015 we supported the following athletes:
Feb 2014 – Jonny Gray Jonny Gray is a Scottish Rugby Elite Development player attached to Glasgow Warriors. He joined Glasgow Warriors in the summer of 2012 on the back of stand-out performances for Hamilton and Scotland U20’s. He started his first game for the national under-20 side – for whom he has been capped nine times – when he was just 17 and was selected as their Captain age 18 for the 2013 RBS 6 Nations. November 2013 saw Jonny make his full international debut against South Africa (replacing big brother Richie Gray) and in January 2014 he captained Scotland A’s for the first time- leading his team to the win against England Saxons. All this and still only 19 – a worthy recipient of the AOTQ award!
May 2014 – Neil Fachie Neil started in athletics but made the move to cycling in 2008 and has never looked back. Having started training in 2008, he made it onto the GB Para-Cycling Team in 2009 and started competing shortly after. His first major international competition was in 2009 – the Paralympic World Cup at the Manchester where Neil won two silver medals. Since then, Neil has competed for Britain at two World Championships winning four gold medals and breaking two world records. Neil achieved his ambition of being Paralympic champion in 2012, when he and Barney Storey won the gold medal in the kilo event. The pairing went on to win the silver medal in the sprint. Neil’s achievements were acknowledged in the 2013 New Year’s Honours where he was awarded an MBE. Neil’s sporting ambition is to reach an equal level of performance to top able-bodied athletes. This year, Neil smashed the world record while claiming the gold medal in the kilo time-trials at the Para-cycling Track World Championships in Mexico and became the first tandem team in history to break the one minute mark in a time of 59.460 seconds.
Aug 2014 – Euan Burton Euan Burton has a wealth of experience as a Judoka, including two Olympic Games. He has medalled at World and European levels and has also won the prestigious Tokyo Grand Slam in 2009, becoming the first non-Asian to win a Grand Slam title. Euan was a Team GB medal hope at London 2012 but unexpectedly went out in the early stages of the Olympics having been a medal hope, and then conducted one of the most emotive sporting interviews of recent years. Post Olympics, Euan took on the role of Assistant High Performance Coach with SportScotland Institute of Sport and started fighting in the -100kg weight category, two weight categories above where he fought previously as he didn’t want to take a potential Commonwealth Games place from one of the athletes he was coaching. Glasgow 2014 was Euan’s last competition before retirement and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Despite fighting 8kg light, Euan took gold memorably – as well as being the flag-bearer for the national team – a worthy recipient of the AOTQ award!
November 2014 – Callum Skinner Callum won four gold medals at the National Track Championships in September, the first sprint cyclist to take all 4 sprint titles. He was also crowned European Champion in the kilo soon after and then topped it off by winning gold in Mexico during the World Cup in the team sprint. Callum was inspired to take up track cycling in 2004, when fellow Scotsman Sir Chris Hoy won Gold in the Kilo at the Olympic Games in Athens. Four years later, Callum broke the National 200m record for his age category for which Sir Chris presented him with the inaugural Chris Hoy Trophy in recognition for this achievement. Callum joined British Cycling’s Academy Programme in 2010, having progressed through the Talent Team and Olympic Development Programme. Now fully recovered from the injuries which have plagued him over the last year Callum is a determined athlete who is sure to make an impression in the upcoming years. Callum had a promising and impressive performance at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, where he made the final in the team sprint. In his spare time Callum enjoys all outdoor sports and can often be found in quality coffee shops or obsessively trying to brew a better cup himself.
Feb 2015 – Team Patience Willis Olympic Silver medallist Luke Patience and double World Champion Elliot Willis combined forces last year to win Gold in Rio 2016. At the start of this year they won their first Gold World Cup medal. Luke and Elliot competed in the first World Cup of 2015 in Miami.The Australians are the number one team in the fleet but they didn’t have a bad day – Team Patience Willis just had an exceptional one! We’re sure there’s plenty more to come from the guys in the upcoming competitions en route to Rio.