A European title is the next aim for sailor Callum Airlie, who rocketed to fame when he was one of seven young stars to light the Olympic Flame during the London 2012 opening ceremony.
Airlie, on his 17th birthday, helped carry the torch into the Olympic Stadium as part of Danny Boyle’s spectacular ceremony last summer – and only knew he would be doing so a week before the event.
Now though he is concentrating on making his name in sailing, and with 420-class partner Joseph Butterworth, the next target is making the podium at the Youth Sailing European Championships this summer.
Airlie, of Westruther in Scotland, has once again been named on the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative for a third year.
He says the funding benefits from being part of the scheme have already proved a big help, and he plans on developing his ability further over the next year.
'Over the past couple of years I have performed at a high level at multiple events,' said Airlie, speaking at the launch of this year’s Bank of Scotland Local Heroes scheme held at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, one of the key stadia for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
'We have had sixth-place finishes and were ninth at the Europeans and without the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes programme I don’t think we would have done that at all.
'This summer we have the World and European Championships and we are developing towards them. Last year we came ninth at the Euros so we are hoping to build on that and get on the podium.
'The Euros are very difficult though. It is week long and very stressful with lots up for grabs but all of these events are building me up to my ultimate goal and are all stepping stones.
'The Olympics has always been an ultimate goal for me and the main goal will be the 2020 Olympics, as Rio is too soon with the amount of preparation I have to do.'
As part of Bank of Scotland’s London 2012 legacy, Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, will provide support and funding to 82 emerging Scottish athletes in 2013. Over 220 Local Heroes have benefited from the programme since 2008.
Follow Scotland’s future stars on Facebook. by Paul Smith, Sportsbeat
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