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Runner Gemma Nicol, of Queen Anne High in Dunfermline, is one of 140 athletes selected for the Bank of Scotland Talented Young Athlete squad for 2003-04. The scheme, which began in 1999, offers athletes specialist training and medical support throughout the year as well as help to meet expenses.

"I am very ambitious in my athletics and it is great to know that people are behind me and help is available," says Gemma, aged 17.

Talented athletes aged 15-23 have the chance to gain additional funding through a trust set up by the wife of the late sports television commentator Ron Pickering.

Kinross High's Eilidh Child was one of 14 Scottish athletes who received support from the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund last year to assist with equipment and training expenses.

To apply, send an sae to Jean Pickering, 11 Wendover Drive, Welwyn, Herts AL6 9LT. The last date for applications is November 30.

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