Capital diver Lucas Thomson has praised coach Jen Leeming for giving him confidence in his own ability after he capped off a dream year by picking up the Young Athlete of the Year award at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards.
The Balerno High School pupil, now 17, was just 16 when he headed to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia earlier this year.
And since then the Edinburgh Diving Club member has gone from strength-to-strength, winning medals at major junior meets and on the senior FINA Diving Grand Prix Series.
As a result he beat stiff competition to win the award – The Sir Peter Heatly Trophy – at the showpiece event held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
“It feels incredible to win this award, it was not something I was expecting at all and it is particularly special given that it is the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy and I train with his grandson James day in and day out,” Thomson said. To be selected for the Commonwealth Games this year was the big target for me and from the moment I first took up diving my coach Jen was the one saying to me ‘let’s aim for the Gold Coast’ and that always gave me belief and drove me on to get there.
“I had watched the Games in Glasgow as a fan and I never really thought I could be at the next ones a few years later, but Jen’s positive attitude really has been massive for me.
“She helped me to progress quite quickly after taking up the sport and made me understand the hard work and processes we had to put in place to make the dream a reality.
“Everything about the Gold Coast was like nothing I had ever been part of before. The scale of the village, the standard of the competition and the setting are things I will never forget and that meet set me on the way to more good results.
“I also want to say a big thanks to my parents for everything they have done for me to help me get this far.”
On the Gold Coast, Thomson finished fifth in his two finals and then went on to win a silver and two bronzes at the European Junior Championships, four medals on the Grand Prix Series and gold at the World Junior Championships.