Jack Agnew from Belfast secures £5k funding from Dale Farm to further international athletics career
17-year old Jack Agnew, a talented wheelchair athlete from North Belfast, has secured a £5,000 bursary from local dairy company Dale Farm to further his sporting career internationally. Up against competition from athletes across Northern Ireland, Jack secured the 2017 Dale Farm FutureStar Award, in partnership with Mary Peters Trust, having been recognised for his talent, commitment and focused ambition to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
One of the largest individual sports awards in Northern Ireland, the Dale Farm FutureStar Award invited applications from athletes aged 16 years and over who have demonstrated the excellence and potential to participate at an international level.
As well as financial support, Jack will receive new training kit and a steady supply of dairy products including Dale Farm Protein Milk, aimed at increasing protein intake pre-and post-training. He will also be able to improve the skills required of a professional athlete in the spotlight, through a one-on-one media training session with Belfast Telegraph Group Sports Editor Jim Gracey.
Jack is ranked 5th in the UK Senior Ranking of T54 Wheelchair racing (1,500m) and is the highest ranked U18 in his sport in the UK. Part of the British Athletics Talent Development Squad, Jack will represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the inaugural Para Athletics Junior World Championships in Switzerland this August.
“Securing the 2017 Dale Farm FutureStar Award is an absolutely fantastic feeling. I’m very proud to have been selected,” said Jack. “The award will help me compete at major international championships over the next year, including the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. “My aim is to keep increasing my training, improving my endurance and fine tuning my nutrition to make me the best I can be on my journey towards Tokyo 2020. I’m grateful to Dale Farm and the Mary Peters Trust for their support in helping me achieve this,” Jack said. Jack first got involved in Para Sport in 2006 when he was introduced to wheelchair basketball, in which he represented Great Britain & Northern Ireland. In 2013, he began training for wheelchair racing at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast and within six months became the England Athletics U15 Champion.
Since then Jack’s career has continued to flourish, having won 3 Golds at the Brazilian Junior Para Championships in 2015 and securing a sweep of personal bests at the Swiss National Championships in 2017. Earlier this year, Jack won the London Mini Marathon Wheelchair Race for the second year in a row.
“Jack is one of Northern Ireland’s most promising young athletes and we are thrilled that he has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Dale Farm FutureStar Award,” said Caroline Martin, Head of Marketing, Dale Farm. “Throughout the selection process, Jack demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment, professionalism and ambition, which, despite being up against several other talented local athletes, ultimately set him apart as the worthy winner. “Dale Farm has worked in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust for several years to recognise the very best in local sporting talent. It is our aim to nurture athletes on the cusp on an international career to help them fulfil their potential. People like Jack are hugely inspirational to other young people and make fantastic ambassadors for Northern Ireland as a whole,” said Caroline.
Dame Mary Peters CH DBE, President of the Mary Peters Trust, added: “Jack Agnew’s career is set to go from strength to strength and this award will help him make his international dreams a reality. Financial support for a young athlete like Jack is crucial and we are grateful to Dale Farm for continuing to support NI sports so generously. “I am extremely proud of Jack on becoming the Dale Farm FutureStar 2017 – and wish him every success for the next chapter of his career.”