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Local sports clubs celebrate successful first year of coaching for children

Local sports groups Deeside Thistle Cycling Club and Fleetfeet Tristars held a celebratory event at Knockburn Loch, near Banchory on Saturday 13th June to honour Bert McIntosh of McIntosh Plant hire. He was thanked by over 50 children and their accompanying parents for enabling the two clubs to use these facilities for their regular coaching sessions.

Both cycling and triathlon have seen participation levels grow following 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth games, and the sporting achievements of Sir Bradley Wiggins and the Brownlee brothers. This has led to the 2 clubs establishing training sessions for younger children in 2014, meeting a need that until then was not being met. With both sports requiring a traffic free environment in which to train on bicycles Knockburn Sports Loch has become a key enabler for these sessions. Bert states that "the coaching being offered by the two clubs reflected the very reason he established KBL in the first place and that it was fantastic to see so many young children regularly running, swimming and cycling on a Saturday mornings"

Bert and family attended the surprise event on Saturday to officially open the very latest facility at Knockburn, a traffic free oval road for cycling and running upon. With plenty of cheers from a noisy crowd of children Bert thanked the crowd for their appreciation and led a group of keen cyclists around the new course. Head coaches Ashley Pearson (DTCC) and Tom Wilson (FFT) thanked not only Bert but also their fellow coaches who provide their time free of charge, the children for their attendance and the parents for their willing assistance. Both offered their respective thanks to Bert and acknowledged the combined effort between the two clubs to accommodate the needs of children with an interest in the two sports. With more coaches being qualified this year and a hope that additional volunteers with come forward in the future it is intended that a sustainable, long term coaching effort can be established, similar to that seen in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen for other sports such as football, swimming and cycling. With growing demand there is also a possibility that the sessions may be extended to other locations in North Aberdeenshire at some point in the future.

Editors Notes;

Deeside Thistle Cycling Club (DTCC) is one of the largest and oldest cycling clubs in UK and offers club runs, local races and coaching in disciplines such as road racing, mountain biking, cyclocross and time trialling. The club organises club runs and training for various groups, including women only sessions, youths (12-16) and miniyouths (5-12). With a historic involvement in the Deeside area and Banchory the club has grown to represent much of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in recent decades. Coaches at DTCC are qualified and approved by British Cycling and follow advisory guidelines for the establishment of core skills and development of talented individuals. Head mini youth coach: Ashley Pearson

Fleetfeet Triathletes, (FFT), represents triathletes living and training in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area, with its origins in Stonehaven. In the last twelve months the club has made a transition towards Knockburn Sports Loch as its preferred venue, at least in the summer months. Outside of this time the club also uses facilities at Robert Gordons University and Aberdeen Sports Village. Head coach: Tom Wilson

Cycle/triathlon coaching: it is a requirement of the governing bodies of both sports that young children are taught cycling in a traffic environment, for which KBL is particularly well suited. Coaches are trained and qualified by the governing bodies and work on a voluntary basis and between 30-40 children aged 5-12 regularly take part in sessions held on a Saturday morning at KBL.

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