County parliamentarians meet Dunbar track starlet

County parliamentarians Iain Gray MSP and Fiona O’Donnell MP recently met with local athlete Maria Lyle and heard more about her blossoming athletics career.

14-year-old Maria, from Dunbar, is a sprinter competing in the T35 category at 100 and 200m. She is one of several young people being supported by the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes Programme.

Maria has already won a gold medal at the DSE National Junior Athletics Championships in 2013 and bronze at the English Athletics senior disability championships. She also broke the World and European Senior Record in T35 200m on her international debut.

She is currently ranked number one in the world for both the 100m and 200m T35 events. Last year she won East Lothian’s Sportsperson with a Disability of the Year Award.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“I really enjoyed meeting Maria and having the opportunity to chat to her about what she has achieved so far and her plans for the future. At just 14, she has already enjoyed incredible success, including setting two world records and being ranked number one in the world in her events. I’m sure that she will go on to achieve much more in the years ahead and become one of the next big names in athletics.”

Fiona O’Donnell MP said:

“I was hugely impressed by Maria’s quiet confidence and her ambition to make it to the top of her chosen sport. She has already experienced great success in her short career, but there is a lot more to come. She is also a fantastic ambassador for sport in East Lothian and I wish her continued success. I also commend the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes Programme for the support it provides to young athletes.”

David Robertson, Local Director, Bank of Scotland said:

“At Bank of Scotland, we are delighted to continue our support of 19 athletes via the Local Heroes programme. It’s very important to offer these young athletes structured support at a crucial time in their sporting development and help act as a catalyst in their journey to becoming elite athletes. We wish Maria continued success in what is a key period in her sporting journey and we are really delighted to be a part of it.”

Since 2008, working in partnership with SportsAid, the Local Heroes Programme has supported over 1,200 young athletes with financial and practical support at a time when they need it most. It provides athletes with an award of £1,000 towards training costs, opportunities for them to learn more about being an elite athlete and support to help build their profile and confidence in public speaking.

Maria Lyle