MILNGAVIE wrestler Sean Keogh’s hopes of competing at London 2012 received a major boost this week - with a £1,000 cheque and access to top-notch training.
He was awarded the cash at a Bank of Scotland Local Heroes Initiative presentation and given some expert tips on how to prepare for next year’s Olympics from three-time Olympic silver medallist Katherine Grainger from Bearsden.
The former Douglas Academy pupil proved his growing potential at last autumn’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi - coming fifth in the 84kg freestyle category.
Sean (23) was disappointed with his placing at the Delhi Games, but said he is determined to give it his best shot in London next year and show that British wrestling can recapture the glory days of the 1980s.
He said: “Britain in wrestling in the last 10 years or so has had a real crash in terms of people challenging for medals because in the 80s we used to have quite a lot of people challenging.
“For the last 10 years there has been a complete dry up so it has been guys from like Russia and America that I have been getting my inspiration from.”
Sean said that looking closer to home people like cyclist Chris Hoy and athlete Kelly Holmes showed that we can produce top class sporting people, so why not in wrestling as well?
He joked: “They are on Cornflakes and Bran Flakes packets. You have to get medals to get that publicity but maybe with the Olympics so many people getting to see it will maybe spark an interest in wrestling.”
After the Olympics the Milngavie Wrestling Club member will be setting his sights on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
He added: “You have got Glasgow happening so there’ll hopefully be a double interest in wrestling.”
Katherine, a former Bearsden Academy pupil who has taken silver at the last three Games, believes Sean’s selection on the Scottish Local Heroes Initiative will see him deliver on his impressive potential.
She said: “The concept of the scheme is fantastic because it’s helping people out at a really crucial stage of their athletic career when there is not a lot of funding or support.”
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes is a partnership with SportsAid and provides support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. For more information go to www.bankofscotland.co.uk/localheroes.