12 July 2010

Training camp inspires Olympic and Paralympic stars of the future

Colchester Campus

Young people take part in mountain bike training

Potential Olympic and Paralympic stars of the future took part in an intensive training camp hosted by the University of Essex.

A total of 30 able-bodied and disabled youngsters from the Colchester, Tendring and Halstead areas were selected to take part in the Essex Future Stars Camp at the Colchester Campus.

The three-day camp used the upcoming London Olympics and Paralympics to try to inspire the 11 to 12-year-olds to excel in their chosen sport.

The camp was endorsed by the official Inspired by London 2012 mark as part of the county council’s Essex Carrying the Flame education programme. It is also being backed by the Essex 2012 Legacy Partnership and numerous national organisations including the Football Association, Badminton England and British Cycling.

The Human Performance Unit (HPU) at the University’s Centre for Sports and Exercise Science co-ordinated the event.

HPU Manager Tom Cudmore said: 'The camp let them experience first-hand what it takes to be a successful athlete through a programme that included sports training and workshops to learn more about the lifestyle of a full time sportsperson.

'The programme was based around sports sessions with top coaches, who worked with the athletes to develop their skills and teach them about the demands of elite sport.

Sessions covered three different areas - disability sports, mountain biking and badminton.

The disability sports sessions with specialist coaches focused on five different sports featured in the Paralympics - boccia, football, wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and table tennis.

Mountain bikers used Wivenhoe Park and facilities at Braintree while badminton players were based at the University’s Sport Centre.

Mr Cudmore said an important aim for the three days was to encourage young people to build up links with other young sports people: 'Those taking part stayed

at the University for the three days and outside the sports sessions the whole group was able to spend time together.

'They were supported by a team of ambassadors from the University who were there to help look after the groups and make sure everyone enjoyed the camp.'

The organisations supporting the camp included:

  • Essex County Council
  • Essex Carrying the Flame education programme
  • Essex 2012 Legacy Partnership
  • School Sports Co-ordinators (SSCo) scheme
  • Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Associate (GBWBA)
  • English Table Tennis Association (ETTA)
  • British Cycling
  • Badminton England
  • Volleyball England
  • The Football Association - with the support of disability partner Nationwide

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