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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Barnes backs sport bursary award

Paddy Barnes with Dame Mary Peters and Dale Farm's  Andrew Nethercott
The award helped Paddy Barnes' Olympic Games preparations

Boxer Paddy Barnes is urging Northern Ireland's top young sports people to put themselves into contention for this year's Dale Farm Sports Award.

The Beijing Olympics bronze medallist was last year's winner of the 5,000 bursary - the biggest local individual sports funding boost.

Barnes joined Dame Mary Peters DBE and Andrew Nethercott from Dale Farm at the launch of this year's competition.

"The 5,000 I received from Dale Farm really took the pressure off," he said.

"Going on to win a medal at the Games was an amazing feeling and hopefully this will show other young athletes from Northern Ireland that they can reach the top of their sports too.

"Winning this award really helped me achieve this dream and I would recommend applying to any athlete who is serious about making it onto the international arena."

Dale Farm commercial director Mr Nethercott said that Barnes was the "latest success story to come out of these awards following the achievements of previous winners ice-skater Jenna McCorkell and cyclist Ryan Connor".

"These young people clearly already had the talent to compete at the highest levels but they also needed a practical helping hand in the form of a financial boost," he said.

Dame Mary Peters spoke of the importance of "nurturing our young sporting talent".

"Initiatives such as the Dale Farm Sports Award are so important to help this young talent secure the funding which is vital to their careers," said Dame Mary.

Nomination forms are available from all sports governing bodies, the Mary Peters Trust or by logging on to

The deadline for entries is Friday 13 February 2009.

The Mary Peters Trust will carry out the selection process and the winner will be announced in April 2009

see also
NI quintet nominated for bursary
04 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
McCorkell upbeat for 2008 season
28 Nov 07 |  Other sport...

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