Loughborough played host to a national testing scheme last weekend (15th-16th) designed to unearth talented sportspeople who may not have found their niche.
More than 400 16-26 year olds took part in the ‘Power2Podium’ run by UKSport, which saw those showing potential in targeted sports put through their paces in a series of gruelling physical tests.
Although 2012 may come too soon for participants of the scheme, the idea is to fill the gaps in certain sports and continue the legacy to Rio 2016 and beyond.
The programme began with an online application stage to assess the statistics of athletes who felt they had reached their peak in their current event or were simply searching for a new challenge. The selected few were cherry picked for their suitability for athletics, rugby 7’s, sprint cycling and canoeing, weightlifting or the winter Olympic sports of bobsleigh or bob skeleton.
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.”
Speaking of the event, a Loughborough student amongst those taking part said, “It was tough, but a great experience. I just wanted to see if I had what it takes in a sport I might not have otherwise tried.”
Testing took the form of sprints, explosive strength and anaerobic endurance events; each with a set target in sight. Those making the grade will receive notification in the coming month of more specialised testing in the chosen sports.
A period of increased commitment will follow and could see a small portion of the highly talented group placed on world class development programmes and embark on an experience of a lifetime.
Testing continues in 5 further UK centres this month and next.
For more information, visit www.uksport.gov.uk/pages/current-campaigns