AN OLYMPIC hopeful has been given a major sponsorship boost.
Rachael McGukin, of West Allotment, has received the support of shopping centre Eldon Square as she prepares to compete for a place in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 15-year-old ice hockey player has been selected to play for the Great Britain Under-18 girls team and will be sponsored by the Newcastle centre.
Rachael has beaten off stiff competition to be selected as goalkeeper for the team.
She has already represented England at international level during a recent hockey tournament in Canada.
Her aim is to be once again selected for the under-18s when they head out to Tokyo in two years time for the Olympics.
Rachael is currently in her third season playing for Whitley Tomahawks, so her success and advancement in the sport are even more impressive given the short time scale involved.
When Eldon Square’s general manager Phil Steele heard of Rachael’s achievements via her proud dad Andy, an engineer at Eldon Square, the shopping centre boss was keen to support her in pursuing her sporting dream.
He checked out Rachael’s skills during a visit to the city’s open air ice rink in Times Square and agreed to the sponsorship.
Phil said: “Being on the team is both a privilege and a pleasure for Rachael, but the travel costs involved can quickly add up.
“We are delighted to be able to help Rachael realise her sporting ambition; she has a big job ahead of her but is a very determined and inspirational young lady and we wish her the very best.”
Rachael added: “To know that other people respect what I have achieved and support me in the sport I love makes me feel so proud.
“When I pull on my England and GB shirts, I not only think of the things that I have done to achieve this but also the things other people have done to help me get where I am.
“When Eldon Square wanted to help I was really excited to be sponsored by such a well-known company.”
Dad Andy added: “We are so proud of Rachael for all of her achievements.
“I would like to say a big thank you to Eldon Square for sponsoring her – it has not only been a help to us, but Rachael’s confidence level changed when she found out about it and I think her game level improved from that day on.”