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24 October 2011 | PR 11/132

Olympic hopefuls put through their paces at University

Rowers - Power2Podium

Photo courtesy of UK Sport.

400 sportspeople have been put through their paces at Loughborough University, trialling for a shot to be a potential future Olympian.

Power2Podium is the latest UK Talent Team campaign run in partnership by UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport.

The campaign is aimed at attracting athletes with speed and power into fast-track talent development programmes in the sports of athletics, sprint canoeing, sprint cycling, weightlifting, skeleton, bobsleigh and rugby sevens, who may contribute to the Team GB medal haul at the Rio 2016 Games or the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games.

UK Sport’s Head of Athlete Development, Chelsea Warr, explained:

“We are working in partnership with seven of our summer and winter Olympic sports, to try and systematically identify athletes who have the potential to get to the very highest level in those respective sports, and ultimately win a world or Olympic medal.

“The whole campaign is focused around strength and power, so we are looking for athletes that have a natural disposition to be very strong, very powerful and very quick. We spend quite a lot of time looking at their past training histories and competitive histories to try and understand their future potential.”

Having been selected for phase one based on their sporting backgrounds and basic physical attributes, the athletes were assessed over a range of speed and power based tests, along with a detailed analysis of their training and competitive biographies.

Nervously awaiting her turn, 26-year-old heptathlete Helen Morton, said:

“I participate in power sports at the moment so I thought I would give it a shot, to see if my body type and strengths would be suited to other sports as well.

“I’ve been doing heptathlon for ten years so it will be nice to see if what I’m doing now could be put into another sport at a higher level.”

Observing at Loughborough University was Matt Ferguson Midlands Talent Development Officer for Women’s Rugby (RFUW). Matt explained what he was looking for:

“The physical baseline is very important, the ability for athletes to then put that into a game sense, along with hand eye coordination when we put a ball in their hand, is crucial.

“The pathway will be open to athletes as quickly as they can develop, there’s no reason why we couldn’t see somebody here today, who has never touched a ball before, being part of an Olympic gold medal winning team in Rio.”

Loughborough University was the fourth of six phase one assessment events taking place around the UK. Athletes selected for phase two will be notified by the end of November and will be invited to trial in a more sport focused environment.

UK Sport Director of Performance, Peter Keen, said:

“There are so many success stories in Olympic and Paralympic sport now, but our pathways to those medals are still developing in most sports.

“The complexities of the eight to ten years it takes an athlete to get to the top are still being understood, and what programmes like Power2Podium do so well is raise awareness of the need to understand what talent is and how to spot it better.”

Further information about the Power2 Podium campaign can be found on the UK Sport website at: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/pages/current-campaigns/

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Rob Knott
PR Officer (Sport)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: R.A.Knott@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Monday October 24, 2011 10:33