As part of an ongoing partnership with West Lothian Leisure, West Lothian Council has recently awarded talented athlete scholarship passes to 31 of its local athletes.
The scholarship scheme allows the athletes access to Xcite venues across the authority in order to complement and enhance their existing training programmes. Of the 31 athletes, 14 different sports are represented ranging from sprint kayaking to women's football and badminton to orienteering.
A total of 14 of the recipients are currently on West Lothian Council's 'Excellence in School Sport Programme' (ESSP), which provides school aged athletes performing at a regional or national level with additional support through the provision strength & conditioning training as well as access to physiotherapy and sports psychology.
Some notable achievements of those athletes awarded scholarship passes are golfer Liam Currid (ESSP athlete) who won the Lothian boys U16 Championships in 2017 and Jack Brockway (15) who is Scottish Sprint Kayak Champion for his age at 200m, 500m and 1000m. Another recipient, ESSP athlete Chloe Gaston (11) also won gold medals at the 2017 British and 2017 Scottish gymnastics trampoline championships.
Councillor Dave King, executive councillor for culture and leisure, said: "West Lothian Council, in partnership with West Lothian Leisure, are delighted to support our elite and aspiring athletes to help them achieve their full potential.
"The support that West Lothian Council offers ensures that our athletes, such as current Commonwealth Games and previous ESSP athlete Craig Benson, perform at the highest levels and provide local role models to encourage participation and performance in sport."
Grace Molloy, a finalist in the recent West Lothian Council Celebrating Sport Awards 'Sports Person of the Year' category, has been successful in a number of orienteering events in 2017, notably taking first place at the Scottish Schools' championships as well as the British Championships.
Grace said of her scholarship award: "The scholarship pass has been very beneficial as it has allowed me to cross train when I was unable to run due to spraining my ankle. It has also allowed me to do my strength and conditioning training in a high quality, well equipped gym."
Robin Strang, Chief Executive of West Lothian Leisure added: "We are delighted to work with West Lothian Council to support local talented athletes. Through continued investment we have a network of high quality sports, pools and fitness facilities across West Lothian which houses some of the same equipment used by Olympic athletes.
"All our gyms are kitted out by the official supplier of training kit to the last seven Olympic Games. It's fantastic to see the benefit to upcoming athletes being able to training in this environment and have the support of the fully qualified Xcite Team."
Olivia McMahon, Scottish Hockey under 21 squad member commented: "This scholarship has positively impacted me because it has allowed me to further enhance my performance and tailor my improvements towards hockey specific strengths. This will aid in pushing to compete at the highest level I can."
Applications for 2019 scholarship passes will open in November via the Active West Lothian website at Active West Lothian