TWO promising local athletes have received a boost after a high-tech Limerick firm decided to sponsor them on their ‘Road to Rio’.
Four-hundred metre hurdlers Thomas and Jessie Bar, aged 21 and 24, respectively, will be sponsored by marketing automation platform company SensorPro.
Based in the Plassey Technology Park, the company is giving its backing to the brother-and-sister team who have studied in the city for the last few years.
Thomas, a final year mechanical engineering student at UL, holds three national senior titles, while Jessie was a member of the 4x500 relay team at the London 2012 Olympic games.
Jessie, who is now doing a masters course at the University of the West of England in Bristol, has also competed at a number of other meetings.
Now, with both aiming for a place at the summer games in Rio in two years, SensorPro has decided to help them on their way.
The company found the pair through Ntrai, a firm specialising in the funding of special projects.
Tom - who trains twice most days - said: “The more sponsorship we can get, the better we can look after ourselves, with regard to food, training, and the better we can perform.”
And Jessie said Sensorpro’s backing means they are not having to always look to their parents for support.
“The funding we get only takes us so far, That has to cover rent and general living expenses. So this means we can be more independent, and get to more races across the world,” she said.
Sensorpro CEO Chris Byrne said they have been looking for up-and-coming athletes to sponsor for a number of years.
“They make a great team. They are clearly winning in their field, and they have great ambitions for Rio. However they do, we are happy to help them on their way,” he said.
Chris added that he was inspired by a video Jessie made - and posted to the web - where she stated that she was not aiming for mediocrity: rather to “rank among the leaders on the world stage”.