Seventeen-year-old trainee mechanic Tighearnan Doyle from Kookateki Judo club has been presented with his first Mary Peters Trust funding award.

He joined local athletes representing sports from gymnastics and judo to boccia, netball, swimming and sailing at a special Athletes’ Academy event held at Newforge Sports Complex, Belfast and hosted by Paralympian champion, Newtownabbey’s Michael McKillop.

Award winners were joined by parents and family members as well as sport liaison officers and Awards Team Chair, Will Doggart.

Tighearnan is pictured receiving his award certificate from Lady Mary Peters.

The young athlete who turns 18 in January took up judo when he was eight and is currently part of the Northern Ireland High Performance Squad.

Currently a brown belt, Tighearnan anticipates winning his black belt by Christmas. His club Kookateki is based at Mallusk and at North Belfast’s Grove Wellbeing Centre.

Athletes are nominated and then selected following a rigorous process and each receive financial and general support to help them navigate and succeed in their sporting careers and ultimately achieve their individual goals.

Congratulating Tighearnan and others in the current cohort, Will Doggart said: “Today’s young athletes are competing at venues across the world and funding support is vital to help them fulfil their sporting dreams.

"Athletes and their families sacrifice a lot to push forward and develop in their sport and we at the Trust love seeing how each person’s journey progresses. We wish our current award winners all the very best for the future.”