Young BMX rider Ross Cullen will join nine of the country’s most promising young athletes at SportsAid’s annual One to Watch Awards later this week.
Fourteen-year-old Ross, who is a member of the Preston Pirates BMX Club, has been nominated for the charity’s prestigious award, which has previously been won by the likes of diver Tom Daley and sprinter Jodie Williams.
The ten selected athletes have all been nominated by their sport’s governing body, and have been picked from a pool of around 1,200 rising stars. The One to Watch will be announced at SportsAid’s SportsBall event at London’s Park Lane on Thursday 5 November.
Ross, the 2015 BMX world age group champion at under-14 level, says:
“It feels amazing to have made the shortlist from all the talented people supported by SportsAid. It makes my achievements this year even more rewarding and I feel so grateful that this has been recognised.
“My stand-out performance from this year was at the UCI BMX World Championships in Belgium. I made the final, and then produced what was as close to a perfect lap as I have ever ridden - winning that final was an amazing experience not to be forgotten.”
Ross was also crowned under-15 British champion this year; the sixth time in eight years that he has won a national title. He is now in his second year as an apprentice on the British Cycling Rider Route, but according to his coaches, it’s not just his talent as a rider that sets him apart.
Ian Brookes is one of the lead coaches at Preston Pirates and has witnessed Ross’ development over the last eight years:
“Ross first came to our club as a six year-old, and from that first day it was clear that he had a natural ability on his bike, a willingness to learn and a determination to succeed.
“His desire to be the best continued throughout his BMX career. Even though he’s only 14, he is mature beyond his years – as well as his commitment to his own training, Ross gives his time to help the younger riders at the club as part of our mentoring programme.”
Preston Pirates BMX Club is a British Cycling Go-Ride Club, part of a network of over 300 clubs around the country whose qualified volunteers deliver safe, fun and challenging coaching activities for young people in traffic-free environments.
Ross is passionate about his club and has recently joined British Cycling’s Cycling Award for Young Volunteers. Alongside competition, he will be able to develop communication and leadership skills to support Preston Pirates and help the club develop to support even more BMX enthusiasts.