A fund set up to support young Scottish cyclists has allocated £30,000 to help riders in this year's Commonwealth Games.
The Braveheart Fund, set up in 2002 by former pro champion Brian Smith, has earmarked funding for 13 riders and four clubs ahead of the Games in Delhi.
Several Games prospects are amomg those who will be backed by the Fund, with Kate Cullen and James McCallum, both bronze medallists in Melbourne four years ago, as well as Evan Oliphant and Claire Thomas, supported in their bid for medals.
The biggest share of the funding, which across all categories totals more than £30,000, will be allocated to nine younger prospects, from 16-year old track sprinter John Paul to 21-year old road rider Ross Creber.
And, under the ‘special projects’ category of funding, £5,000 is being invested in four junior clubs: Dynamo Falkirk, Discovery Juniors, Wallace Warriors and Peebles Cycling Club. A further £8,000 will be invested in a junior road racing initiative designed to give junior riders international experience, to be run in conjunction with Scottish Cycling under the supervision and guidance of national coach Graeme Herd.
Brian Smith said: “A committee of volunteers works the fund, but the people in control of how the money is spent are those who put their hands in their pockets by donating so generously at our annual dinner and throughout the year. One of the questions we’ve been increasingly asked is whether the fund is just for elite riders, or is there money available for development.
"We want to support development, and the special projects is an area we want to develop. It's a direction we’re keen to head in. Some of the junior clubs in Scotland are doing a fantastic job getting youngsters involved and we really want to support that. With the Discovery Juniors in Dundee there is also a project to upgrade the Caird Park track, where they train. We hope that by helping the club we can help the initiative to keep the facility."
Smith also revealed that Kevin Stewart, crowned 2009 Braveheart Cyclist of the Year at the annual dinner in October, is to travel to the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in Aigle, Switzerland, to take part in trials for a place at the world cycling school. Ross Edgar and Victoria Pendleton are among the sprinters who have graduated from the school and gone on to success at world and Olympic level.