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Bright future for PowerTower Amelie as local teen lifts prestigious award from Netball NI

Young woman in beige dress holding award.

Amelie pictured at the event with her award.

The sporting talent and skill of a Ballymena teenager was recognised last weekend at the prestigious Netball NI Awards Night 2023 which took place at Galgorm Resort.

Professional team Manchester Thunder were among invited special guests at the annual awards ceremony.

Hopeful young stars from across Northern Ireland gathered on Saturday evening, 20 May, where among other awards, 15-year-old Amelie Pittam was shortlisted for and won the Erin Thomson Most Promising Junior Player.

Amelie was delighted to have been presented with this special award by Sonya and Alan Thomson who established The Erin Thomson Memorial Trust in memory of their daughter.

Man and woman presenting young girl with award

Amelie pictured with Sonya and Alan Thomson

In a commendation for the young player, Netball NI said:

"Amelie Pittam is a very intelligent and creative player who has class and has improved massively. She was successful at obtaining a place on the U15 for the 2nd year, and was shortlisted at 14 years old for potential at U17 National last season as one of the strongest in our U15 pathway. She leads the attack end and other players look up to her to learn from."

The award is the latest recognition for Amelie who is a Year 11 student at Ballymena Academy where she is part of the school netball team, and also a passionate member of Seven Towers Netball Club in Ballymena.

Young girls playing netball.

Amelie and her Intermediate team mates celebrating winning the school shield.

Amelie's dad Vic Pittam was brimming with love and pride for 'his girl'.

"I feel truly blessed and privileged to have such a beautiful talented daughter in Amelie," shared Vic. "She is forever surprising me with her achievements whether academically or within sport to the point nothing surprises me anymore.

"I have come to know that when she sets her heart on something she puts everything in to achieve it; she is truly inspirational and my heart bursts with pride at everything she achieves.

"I know how much this award means to her down to the continuous hard work, sacrifices and the sheer dedication she puts into her Netball - this is merely a continuing journey in pursuit of her dream to represent Northern Ireland as a full international and I'm excited to watch this journey unfold.

"I was in total shock when she told me, but this is not about me it's about Amelie - it's her moment and she deserves all the accolades she receives. I love her all the stars in the sky and to the moon and back, she is my angel and netballing superstar."

Young netball players celebrating holding shield for winning.

Ballymena Academy Intermediate squad pictured with coach Julie-Anne Cairns and school shield.

Amelie's coach Julie-Anne Cairns was also a finalist on the night for 'Performance Coach of the Year', being shortlisted within the final three.

Under Julie-Anne's leadership both the club and Ballymena Academy teams have enjoyed success and another impressive season.

Both the Ballymena Academy's Junior and Intermediate teams lifted the shield back in March for the Northern Ireland School Finals 2023, with Amelie playing her part as team captain of the Intermediate squad. All squads were area league winners in the Netball NI schools leagues.

Success for Seven Towers Netball Club is highlighted with the number of players being placed within the Northern Ireland Pathway Squads, including:

• One NI National Euros under 17 member

• Two NI Under 17 development players

• Ten NI Future Internationals players (including Amelie)

• Five NI U13 Development players

Young netball player with coach holding award.

Amelie with Coach Julie-Anne Cairns at the awards event.

Vic paid tribute to the local woman who coaches both at the Seven Towers Netball Club and Ballymena Academy, describing Julie-Anne as an "inspirational and amazing world class coach" to all the girls she coaches.

Commenting on the most recent accolade for club PowerTower Amelie Pittam, Coach Julie-Anne said:

"Amelie may only be 15-years-old, but she has been playing for our U19 1st squad since she 14. Amelie was selected to take her spot on our first ever U19 squad this year.

"Since joining the club in September 2021 as an U16 junior, she has excelled in the sport. Amelie was co-captain of the U16 squad last year.

"Amelie successfully trialled for the NNI U15 Future Internationals Academy last season. At fourteen years old she was Talent ID as a potential NNI U17 player and was invited to attend a special training session. Amelie was successful this year again in obtaining her place on the NNI U15 Future Internationals Academy and will be trialling for the NNI U17 squad later in the year!

"This hot shot shooter also co-captained her school Ballymena Academy Intermediates to victory at the NNI Schools Sheild Final 2023."

Five women standing in evening dresses in a row with arms around each other.

Pictured with Amelie are members of professional team Manchester Thunder (L-R) Shadine Van der Merwe, Kerry Almond, Karen Greig and Lenize Potgieter.

Julie-Anne added:

"Amelie is a leader, who can and will lead by example. This PowerTower has one of the best, intellectually smart netball brains of her age. Her court skills are unparalleled in her generation.

"Amelie will be trialling for the Netball Northern Ireland U17 National Squad this autumn and I could not be more proud of her."

If you wish to get involved or would like more information please visit the Facebook page for the Seven Towers Netball Club.

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