By Abi Curran, Sportsbeat
Kent paratriathlete Ollie Scott is relishing the prospect of going toe-to-toe with competitors twice his age as he targets a podium finish in every Para Tri Super Series event next year.
The 15-year-old, who is a lower left arm amputee, is on a wider mission to prove that para-athletes can compete alongside able-bodied contenders and is making a name for himself within the triathlon community.
Scott only got into the sport because he could not be classified by para-athletics in long-distance running due to his disability.
The young talent is following in the footsteps of idols Mike Salisbury, Claire Cashmore and Finley Jakes through British Triathlon’s Talent Pathway Programme.
“I used to do athletics from the age of eight so that was my main focus,” said Scott, who has been selected to be part of Aldi’s Rising Stars programme, an initiative with SportsAid that provides talented young athletes with financial support, recognition and personal development opportunities.
“When I went to try and get classified for para-athletics, due to the disability I’ve got, I was only able to take part in sprint distances which wasn’t the distances that I excelled in.
“The pandemic was the chance for me to reflect and coming out of lockdown I decided I was going to put all of my effort into triathlon.
“I did a few time trials for paratriathlon to see if I could get into the academy and it was around August time two years ago that I was put onto a confirmation academy.”
The UK’s fourth-largest supermarket, Aldi, has entered into the second year of its Rising Stars programme with SportsAid by announcing the 18 talented young athletes receiving support in 2023.
Each athlete on the programme is provided with funding to help towards costs such as… pic.twitter.com/jiSUXpVK3w
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) July 27, 2023
Each athlete on the Rising Stars programme, which was launched with SportsAid last year, receives funding to help towards costs such as travel, accommodation, equipment and nutrition, with Aldi also delivering workshop sessions on a range of topics to help nurture athletes for their sport endeavours and beyond.
This includes top tips on healthy eating and performance nutrition, restful sleep, managing mental wellbeing, social media training and making the most of working with the media.
Scott, who has used the game-changing funding to help with mounting equipment costs and training membership, has had his major games dream propelled by the initiative.
He added: “I’d love to compete for ParalympicsGB or at any major games – but the Paralympics is the main aim.
“At the moment my current bike I’m on is a loan from British Triathlon so I’m going to use some of the funding to buy a new road bike which will help me improve in the future.
“With petrol at the moment it’s quite expensive, we live 30 miles away from where I train at Medway Tri in Gravesend so it’s also really useful for that.
“Next year, I want to continue in the Super Series, podium in all races and hopefully get onto the Next Generation programme.”
Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024.