18 June, 2013

Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme extended until 2014

The Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme has been extended for a further 12 months to assist Island sporting performers and coaches as they continue preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.


The announcement was made by Dame Kelly during the final event of the programme's first year on Saturday 15 June. Dame Kelly, Nick Gillingham MBE, Bryan Steel and other international athletes past and present were part of the Kelly Holmes Education team at the National Sport Centre in Douglas, delivering a range of inspirational master classes and workshops to raise the aspirations of local sporting talent.

Among those attending were Louise Corkill, who recently played for England Hockey Under 21 in the test series against Germany, talented endurance athlete Keith Gerrard and two swimmers, Charlotte Atkinson and Laura Kinley, who were part of the quartet that broke the senior Island record for 4x200m freestyle at the North West Youth Swimming Championship two weeks ago.

Dame Kelly said: "It was a fantastic day to round off the programme and now we can build on the success for next year. Kelly Holmes Education aims to inspire talented performers and coaches to be the best they can be.

"There is no doubt there have already been some brilliant individual performances and hopefully this is just the beginning of a very special programme on the Island."

The unique sports education programme was specifically designed this year for athletes and coaches targeting the upcoming Island Games and Glasgow 2014. The second year will focus entirely on providing the best possible preparations for next year's Commonwealth Games, supported by sponsors SMP Partners, Microgaming and Creechurch.

Juliet Holt, President of the Commonwealth Games Association Isle of Man, said:

"The whole programme is quite amazing and I think the athletes and coaches are so lucky to have this opportunity. I am very grateful to the sponsors for allowing us to run these workshops. It is such a brilliant opportunity. We have done things in the past, for the last two Youth Games and Delhi, but we would not have been able to bring over so many tutors and mentors of such a high standard as this."

One sporting performer to take part in the Sporting Excellence Programme is 16-year-old Yasmin Ingham, who recently won the British Pony Championships at Market Drayton, Shropshire.

She said: "I am really pleased it is going to continue. I feel we have benefitted a lot from workshops on the psychological side and the nutritional work we have done. It is very interesting to find out in depth how we can control our nerves and feelings, and approaches to lifestyle."

Boxer Danny Roberts, who attended a master class led by former British Champion Hannah Beharry, added:

"The programme gives you a great opportunity to work with someone who has done so much in the sport. Today has been hard work, but it's been great. It has been a great opportunity to work with someone like Hannah and a great chance to learn from what they have done."

Louise Corkill joined several other local players to be put through her paces by Mel Clewlow, a two-time Olympian who won 179 caps for England.

She said: "I think the main benefit of this programme is the quality of the people we have had the opportunity to learn from, not just with the skills of the sport, but also mind training, lifestyle and more."

"I have learnt a huge amount in a very short space of time, having also trained with the England U21 squad this year and played in the test series against Germany. Unfortunately, I have not made the final squad of 20 for the Junior World Cup, but it was nice to receive so many messages of encouragement when I was selected for the test series; hopefully there will be further opportunities for me ahead."

"There is so much more we can learn, so it is great to be continuing it for another year."

The programme was well received by coaches across a number of sports attending bespoke coach development workshops. One, Chris Quine, explained: "The programme has opened our eyes to a totally different way of coaching and interaction with our athletes. Today has reinforced the messages from the earlier workshops, and everyone has learned so, so much."

Mark Denton, managing director at SMP Partners, concluded:

"I am very pleased that the programme will be extended to next year. There are going to be at least another three of these workshops, plus the athletes will continue to have the ability to contact Dame Kelly and the other mentors as they work towards Glasgow 2014. Our ambition is to see athletes from this programme standing on the podium at the Commonwealth Games. I would like to say a huge thank you to Kelly Holmes Education. It has been brilliant and inspirational; I am delighted it will continue!"

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