A EUROPEAN title is the next aim for sailor Callum Airlie, who shot to fame when he was one of seven young stars to light the Olympic Flame during the London 2012 opening ceremony.
Callum helped carry the torch into the Olympic Stadium as part of Danny Boyle’s spectacular ceremony last summer and now he is concentrating on making his name in sailing, and with 420-class partner Joseph Butterworth, the next target is making the podium at the Youth Sailing European Championships this summer.
The Westruther teenager has been named on the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative for a third year. He says the funding benefits from being part of the scheme have already proved a big help, and he plans on developing his ability further over the next year.
“Over the past couple of years I have performed at a high level at multiple events,” said Callum. “We have had sixth-place finishes and were ninth at the Europeans and without the Local Heroes programme I don’t think we would have done that at all. This summer we have the World and European Championships and are developing towards them. Last year we came ninth at the Euros so we are hoping to build on that and get on the podium.
“The Olympics has always been an ultimate goal for me and the main goal will be the 2020 Olympics, as Rio is too soon with the amount of preparation I have to do.”
As part of the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative, Callum receives a cash injection of £1,000 towards training and competing. He has also received practical sessions on how to deal with the media, how to make the most of social media and career development advice as part of the scheme.
“With the events we get invited to it has helped me to develop my confidence and social skills without which I would be a different person completely. The financial help from the programme has seriously helped me. Sails are very, very expensive so it doesn’t pay the full whack but it certainly pays a large chunk for a brand new set of sails for the World Championships, without which my performance would be seriously weakened.”
As part of Bank of Scotland’s London 2012 legacy, Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, will provide support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes in 2013.