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Swimmer Danielle and Boxer Brett chosen by Mary Peters Trust for ‘Make it Happen’ awards

Two elite athletes have been selected, shortlisted and interviewed by the Mary Peters Trust and Bluefin Sport Insurance and awarded £2,000 each to help them to the next level in their sporting development as part of their ‘Make it Happen’ awards. 18 year old Brett McGinty, a Boxer from L’derry and 17 year old Danielle Hill, a swimmer from Belfast are the chosen stars for the year.

Danielle’s award will be used for very important warm weather training which also means access to additional specialist European coaches.

Danielle’s dad, Davy said, “the warm weather training is a tough week, its breakfast then two and half hours pool training, then lunch and again back in the water for another two and half hours with additional time for stretching and three one hour strength and conditioning sessions. On the one afternoon off, even though they were exhausted, they all decided to go to a water park! Danielle is just so comfortable in water.

“Our daily routine is up at 4.30am every day except on a Sunday when we get a lie in until 5.45am to allow for a pool session. This is followed by 20 minutes of stretching and breakfast before school, where she has also just been made a prefect too. This comes to a total of upto 22 and a half hours of pool sessions per week plus the three hours of strength and conditioning sessions. Add to this the travelling to and from competitions and training camps at the weekendsand it can be a punishing routine for all of us” he joked.

He continued, “It’s been worth it, Danielle was selected to represent NI at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the age of 14 and made it to the semi finals twice. Danielle holds 2 Irish senior records at 50m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke. In three weeks’ time watch this space as she intends to break both Irish Records again. This coming season she will travel to Scotland and Eindhoven, Holland to train with different experienced coaches so that she can qualify for the World Long Course Championships in Budapest and hopefully again qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast Australia 2018.”

Brett McGinty, Boxer, aged 18, the second recipient, has already had captain experience at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa where he won a Silver medal. Eugene his coach said, “Brett is a very level headed young man who is totally dedicated to the sport and I have a lot of respect for him. At the recent European Youth Championships in Russia, he narrowly lost 2-1 in the quarter finals.

“At a time when boxers are turning to the professional ranks at a very young age, this award will help Brett achieve his targets in the sport of Ulster & Irish Elite Titles, Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in Gold Coast and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Brett has just competed for Team Ireland at the AIBA World Youth Championships in St Petersburg. He is a European Schoolboy BRONZE Medallist and has won 12 Ulster Titles & 8 Irish Titles.”

He continued, “This money will fund his Elite training camps in Dublin and further afield. It will fund European competitions which will help him reach his goals. Without this money, and no other funding from any other source, his club were his only support and it was fast running dry. He didn’t see how he could continue so this is a real lifeline for his sport.”

Mary Peters, President of the Mary Peters Trust said, “These two are both very talented athletes and they pointed out to me both red heads! I am so pleased to see their hard work and dedication rewarded, I listen to their training regimes and I’m exhausted before they even get to the end. We support them as much as we can but costs keep going up and as they get better they need to compete further afield in order to develop, that’s why the Trust keeps going and that’s what drives me.”

Alyn Spratt, Head of Sport | Northern Ireland for Bluefin Sport Insurance said “I am personally a great admirer of Dame Mary Peters and she works tirelessly to support young athletes. Bluefin Sportare so pleased to help support these two senior and very talented athletes with this award. I know it will help them along their road to success and I look forward to watching them grow and develop even further in their respective sports.”