BEARSDEN judo expert Dominic Laing has been singled out as part of the vanguard of future Scottish sports stars after receiving funding to help him compete abroad.
The Bearsden Academy pupil is one of only 82 young sporting Scots to receive the £1,000 funding this year which he said could be crucial to his chances of competing at the junior World Championships.
The young up-and-coming star recently attended a launch of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes funded scheme at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre, where he rubbed shoulders with former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards and World Championship bronze medallist Lee McConnell.
Dominic (17) – who is a black belt member of Sporting Judo Club Alba in Clydebank – insists the recognition is just the confidence boost he needs in his bid to reach the Junior World Championships this summer.
A venue for the event has still to be decided.
He said: “It is a massive opportunity for me to be picked on the scheme.
“This money is going to help fund events that I would never previously have been able to go to and open up new opportunities.
“I am now going to be able to go to Japan for three weeks in June to train and compete in the European Cup in Portugal which is a big event for me.
“If I win a medal there or win four fights then I get a spot at the Junior World Championships which is a big aim for me.”
Lee McConnell, who is hoping for a 400m place at this summer’s London Olympics, believes Dominic and others like him are the future of Scottish sport.
She said: “These guys coming up are the future talent across various sports and it’s great that investment is being put in, not just financially, but in terms of spending time with them and getting them ready for a career in sport.”
Annette MacKay, depute head at Bearsden Academy, and Dominic’s year head, said: “Dominic is delightfully unassuming and even though he has a lot of time away from school to compete, he always manages to cope with the work life balance.
“He is a real asset to the school and we wish him well.”
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to the top of their field.