OMAGH Wheelers Cycling Club has netted a whopping €25,000 after being named as one of the five winners in the Coca Cola Thank You Fund awards in Dublin.
The fund awards €125,000 to community and voluntary groups throughout Ireland, as part of Coca Cola’s commitment to the wellbeing of local communities.
A total of 12 organisations were short-listed for the award with each pitching against one another in front of a panel of judges.
Omagh submitted their bid on the back of recent initiatives to promote family fitness that included the setting up of a new youth section.
The award also comes hot on the heels of a successful bid by the Wheelers to host the 2015 All Ireland Cycling Championship in Ulster for the first time since 2005.
Many of the biggest names in Irish cycling, including the likes of Nicolas Roche, Philip Deignan, Daniel Martin, and many others are likely to take part in the elite championships which will be based in Omagh
between June 25-28 next year.
Former chairman and one of chief organisers, Stephen McKenna said the club had double cause for celebration.
“The Coca Cola award was recognition of the club’s drive to get ordinary people active and our focus of youth and beginners,” said a delighted McKenna.
“As for hosting the All Ireland Championships that’s an endorsement of the club’s ability to stage major events that included the B Championships in 2013 and annual events like the Tour of Omagh and the McCann Cup.”
Planning is already underway and the club has sought a meeting with Omagh District Council as well as a number of other local organisations.
McKenna wants to make the championships the next biggest thing in Ulster since the visit of the ‘Giro’ earlier this year.
He is keen to create a festival atmopshere for all the family in Omagh that particular weekend.
“There’s a lot of hard work to be done and there are a lot of organisations we need to talk with including local traders, police, DRD and so on,” he added.
“We will require a lot of support, both in terms of organisation and finance.
“It’s a real vote of confidence for the club and Omagh that we have been awarded Cycling Ireland’s blue riband event.
“My vision is that we turn the whole weekend into a festival that will bring people out onto the streets like the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.”