AS YEARS go, 2015 was not short of supreme highs and devastating lows for Joe Nally – but as the Charlestown cyclist looks ahead to a new year he is left with the overriding feeling that he is closer to a dream Olympic outing.

Back in June, Nally claimed victory in both the youth pursuit and points race at the Scottish National Youth and Junior Track Championships.

The 16-year-old followed that up with points race bronze and team sprint gold at the School Games in September and last month finished as runner-up in a points race in the HOY Future Stars series.

And this last achievement will have been all the sweeter considering that in October, masked thieves using bolt croppers stole Nally’s road and track bikes which were valued at £4,000.

However, as Press Sport reported, he was able to get back on two wheels thanks to plenty of kind generosity – which included a donation of £2,015 from SSE with Nally on their Next Generation programme.

And despite fearing his big chance had been blown, Nally admits he can now head into 2016 full of confidence that he is on the right track.

“The last year was my best year so far,” said the Woodmill High School pupil.

“I won a round of the national series and Scotland did quite well at the School Games as well. I like being Scottish champion because it’s a good thing to tell your friends.

“At one of the selection camps for the GB Development Programme the coach walked in and said: ‘Statistically, one of you in this room is going to win an Olympic gold medal’ and that was quite cool to hear.

“I didn’t really think I was going to get in to be honest and I was preparing myself for failure.

“I was devastated after the bikes were stolen, they were more than just bikes to me, they got me all the success I have had over the past year or two.

“The first camp of the GB Development Programme was only a couple of days away and I started to think of the worst scenario that could happen and that I might get kicked off.”

Nally knows he wouldn’t be able to head into the new year with a spring in his step if it wasn’t for those supporting him. “I got a phone call from SSE when I was on the bus home from school and they said they had heard about the bikes and they would like to give me some financial support,” he added.

“It’s meant that I haven’t suffered too badly from this scenario. It’s overwhelming.

“It’s great to be part of the SSE Next Generation programme, they have given me so much help and advice and it’s great to be with them.”
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