Kieron Achara insisted leading sportspeople must be ready to serve as role models after being awarded the MBE.

The former Great Britain and Glasgow Rocks captain, 37, played at the London 2012 Olympics and won 105 caps before retiring last year following a career that also saw him appear in top leagues in Italy and Spain.

Stirling-born, he has become a mentor for young athletes as well as a prominent figure in pushing for opportunities for youths from minority backgrounds. And he believes his award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List – for services to sport in the community – recognises that work off the court.

“It is a real honour to get this and it really book ends my career,” Achara said. “I’ve taken a lot of pride in trying to inspire the next generation and that and my playing efforts go hand in hand. Because I’ve seen how role models in sport can be so powerful.

“We need athletes, whether it’s in football or other sports, to be visible. I know I wouldn’t have had the same visibility if I had stayed overseas rather than coming back to the UK to play for the Rocks. And that’s where you can really have an impact – in showing the way.”

Image: MAP

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