By GERARD MEAGHER
UNST sprinter Faye Richardson is already dreaming of representing Team GB at the London Olympics after being handpicked by Lloyds TSB to join its local heroes initiative.
The 18-year-old Shetland Amateur Athletic Club member is one of 250 emerging sportsmen and women who will receive £1,000 each year in the run up to 2012 – plugging a financial gap as Richardson is yet to achieve world class lottery funding.
Richardson, a lifeguard, has already been putting the grant to good use, funding her extensive travel costs to compete on the mainland.
The 100 metres specialist said the cash injection was aiding her bid to follow in the footsteps of her hero and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.
She will also be eligible for one-on-one mentoring from Lloyds ambassador and British Olympian Jonathan Edwards and Paralympic basketball ace Ade Adepitan.
Faye said: “The money has really helped me to buy new equipment and to travel because there is a lot of that involved living up here.
“It’s been a really good year – I was also selected for the Scotland under-20 4x100m relay squad at Loughborough in May where we came fifth.
“I’m hoping to keep that going by reaching good times and getting into finals.
“I’m part of a talent squad for the 2012 relay team so I’m really targeting that and I’m hopeful I’ll be competing there.
“It would be awesome to run in my home country and of course with the Olympics in London before that they are two really exciting events on the horizon.”
Faye – who plans to compete at the Island Games in Åland next year – has already underlined her potential by setting a new personal best of 12.3 seconds at the Scottish Northern District Champs in May.
Former Olympic and world triple jump champion Edwards, who still holds the world record, is predicting a golden future for her.
He said: “There is a lot of money in sport now through the lottery but Faye is not quite good enough just yet to take advantage.
“She still makes a huge commitment in time and money in order to do what she does and she doesn’t get a lot back. This relieves a bit of pressure and gives her a boost.
“Sport can be lonely so when someone comes along and believes in you enough to give you £1,000 it makes you realise you will make it after all.”
For more information on the initiative visit www.Lloydstsb.com/Localheroes.