NEARLY 70 Scottish high performance athletes have been given a boost with the news that they are among the recipients of individual SportScotland Athlete Personal Awards.

The sum of £628,750 has been allocated to 67 athletes in 17 sports in the third and final round of Sapa announcements - more than the amount allocated in the first and second rounds, and covering more sports than either of the previous awards.

In addition to the cash grants to individual athletes, team awards have also been made to hockey, badminton, gymnastics (men's artistic), and para lawn bowls.

SportScotland, partners in our Active 2014 campaign to improve the health of Scots in the year of the Commonwealth Games, has invested £1.3 million and supported more than 100 athletes through this initiative, which targets athletes deemed to show medal potential.

Beneficiaries from the latest awards include Caitlin McClatchey in swimming, Imogen Bankier in badminton, Peter Kirkbride in weightlifting and Mark Dry in athletics.

In addition to the Commonwealth Games sports, five members of Team GB at Sochi received support, as did each member of the wheelchair curling team which, as ParalympicsGB, won bronze at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The £90,000 award to the women's hockey team allows the squad to train full-time until the Commonwealth Games in July.

Speaking at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, director of high performance at Sport Scotland, Mike Whittingham, said: "These awards can make the difference to our athletes vying for a place on the podium, and it's great to be able to boost the Games prospects of 67 individual Team Scotland athletes plus those involved in the sports receiving team awards.

"Some of our athletes are already on UK-funded world-class programmes and require a 'top-up', while others are in the early stages of their high performance career and need that additional support to help them train and compete at the right level as they approach competition."

On news of the award, Catriona Ralph, vice-captain of the Scotland women's hockey team, said it allows them to train full-time.

She added: "We are able to focus entirely on our hockey and on representing Scotland as best we can."