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4 January 2008 | PR 08/01

Potential Olympians on Campus for National Camp

Dame Kelly Holmes will welcome some of the country’s most promising young Olympic hopefuls at a National Talent Orientation Camp at Loughborough University this weekend (5 – 8 January).

The double Olympic champion heads a group of senior elite athletes that will act as mentors to up to 75 talented individuals across five key sports at the four-day camp which utilises the world class facilities on offer at the University.

Organised by Youth Sport Trust, the camp is for athletes aged 14-17 years old from canoeing, rowing, cycling, sailing and triathlon. All have been identified by their sport’s governing body as having the potential to make it as elite athletes.

The camp will combine high quality training sessions with workshops on ability and determination, keynote speeches on education and lifestyle planning, advice on drugs-free sport, a Higher Education Marketplace and the opportunity for them to ask a panel of elite performers questions around what it takes to become the best.

Members of the Armed Forces will also put the young athletes through their paces during a series of command tasks designed to build confidence, self-esteem and develop skills in leadership and teamwork.

For the first time, the camp will offer workshops on how schools can support their talented pupils during their development and also an opportunity for parents to get tips and advice on supporting their offspring.

Last year’s camp, also staged at Loughborough, was hailed a huge success with almost four fifths (79%) of athletes saying their performance ranking in their sport has increased since attending.

Meanwhile, 97% were hungrier for success, 93% were more determined to achieve success and 91% were more confident in their ability to succeed.

Dame Kelly Holmes said:
“The camp aims to give these young athletes a real insight into what life is like at an elite sporting level, so that we can prepare them for what it takes to become the best.”

“These young people are at an age where they are starting to make some really big decisions which will have a major impact on the rest of their lives, for example, am I good enough to forge a career in sport? Do I want it enough? How can I balance my sport with my education? Am I making the best use of my talent to reach my goals?”

“We will help answer these questions and challenge the youngsters to really think about their futures. Far from wanting to put them off a career in sport, we are showing them the opportunities available so that they are better-placed to make an informed decision about where they want to go in life.”

Loughborough University Head of Performance Sport Andy Borrie said:
"We're delighted to host the national talent camp for this exciting group of gifted young sportsmen and women.

"Many senior athletes from the five sports already use our world class facilities for training and this camp will give the next generation an insight on what's on offer here at Loughborough.

"The fact the Youth Sport Trust has chosen to return to Loughborough for the camp is testament to the wide range of facilities here and we look forward to working with them further in the future."

Steve Grainger, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“The Youth Sport Trust was delighted with the success of the inaugural National Talent Orientation Camp and we are looking forward to helping to prepare more Olympic hopefuls for the many personal, sporting, academic and vocational challenges that lie ahead now and beyond 2012.

“We are committed to supporting national governing bodies of sport, schools and parents in their efforts to help our young athletes realise their potential and achieve their best as they prepare for life beyond school.”

The National Talent Orientation Camp is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and is the pinnacle of the Gifted and Talented strand of the National School Sport Strategy.

It has been developed by the Youth Sport Trust in partnership with UK Sport and the national governing bodies (NGBs) of the five sports involved.


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Loughborough University Sports PR Officer
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

  1. For the full list of athletes taking part in the National Talent Orientation Camp, log onto www.youthsporttrust.org
  2. Athletes selected include local canoeist Matthew Holliday (Melton Mowbray).
  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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