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Youth sport in focus
Ten England players attend training camp run by Youth Sport Trust.
Just before Christmas, ten England Women’s youth team players were among 100 elite athletes selected to take part in a national training camp run by the Youth Sport Trust, the leading school sports charity.
Kirsty Linnett, Nikita Parris, Jess Sigsworth, Meaghan Sargeant (all U19 internationals), Hollie Kelsh, Katie Zelem, Bethany Mead, Olivia Fergusson, Abbey-Leigh Stringer and Aoife Mannion (all U17 internationals) joined a raft of aspiring Olympians and Paralympians at the seventh National Trust Camp, held at Loughborough University, between 18-21 December.
The camp offered England’s promising young stars from nine different sports a unique insight in the world of performance sport and prepared them for the personal, academic and vocational challenges which lie ahead.
Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener led the camp along with a host of experienced British athletes, who will be mentors for the duration of the camp, including England captain Faye White.
The youngsters not only learnt about being an elite performer, but also the factors that contribute to being successful, including working with the media. They were put on a strict schedule which mirrored that of a typical elite athlete, including everything from early morning training sessions and drills to early nights and a healthy diet.
Gardener believes the young stars can use the camp as a huge development platform.
He said: “These youngsters have been given a great opportunity to learn from some of the UK’s most successful sports stars, so it’s an opportunity they grabbed with both hands.
“The fact that they were chosen for this prestigious camp already shows they are demonstrating real sporting promise, but being an elite athlete is not all about your talent; you need to be all-rounded and realise that a lot of determination, hard work and sacrifice is needed to be top of your game.
“The camp really drew on these factors and helped these young athletes understand the challenges they face being an elite performer, being the best and staying at the top level and the life commitment needed in order to succeed.”
England defender Sargeant said: “Compared to other camps that I’ve been on, this one seemed more focussed on the mental issues with sport and it’s really good to get involved with other sports to see what they do compared to our training.
“They have been long days, but it’s been worth it.”