More than 50 selected athletes who have demonstrated promise in a number of sporting disciplines including athletics, cycling, netball, rugby, equestrianism, archery and shooting have been invited to join the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme
The programme, which has been designed to motivate potential sports champions from a range of Olympic and Commonwealth sporting disciplines, is going to be ‘delivered’ by Kelly Holmes Education on October 6 and 7.
The invited athletes range in age from 11 to 55.
A further 30 invitations have been issued to coaches who continue to pro-actively support and encourage Manx sports men and women.
Double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes will be in the Isle of Man to meet and inspire athletes and coaches, and present the first event, which is a two-day educational camp at the National Sports Centre at the start of October. The initiative will be supported by Creechurch Capital, Microgaming and SMP Partners.
Dame Kelly, who won the 800m and 1500m events at the Athens Games in 2004, said: ‘I am really looking forward to launching the programme on the Isle of Man after the expansion this year of Kelly Holmes Education, inspiring our next generation of sporting champions.
‘I was very proud to see Jade Jones, at only 19, become Great Britain’s first Olympic taekwondo champion, as she was a member of my mentoring and education programme with the Jaguar Academy of Sport.
‘It was also amazing to see Laura Weightman, who joined my first education programme “On Camp with Kelly” set up in 2004, compete in the Olympic Games 1500m final. The 2014 Commonwealth Games presents another big milestone for British sport – we have an exciting two years ahead and it’s a wonderful opportunity for these selected athletes.’
Paul Bridson, of the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, said: ‘We are delighted that Kelly Holmes Education is bringing the Sporting Excellence Programme to the Isle of Man. It is so important that we give our best young athletes and Commonwealth team members the support that they need to flourish in their chosen sport, and this programme is a fantastic addition to what we already have in place.
‘I would like to thank the sponsors for their help in bringing the initiative to the island, I am sure Dame Kelly will prove to be a fantastic inspiration to all involved.’
Managing director of SMP Partners Mark Denton said: ‘We are confident that this programme will be of great benefit to our best athletes as they prepare for forthcoming competitions, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It has been created to help them reach their full potential, covering a broad range of topics that could make a real difference.’
Roger Raatgever, chief executive officer of Microgaming, added: ‘We are very proud to be supporting the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme.
‘Sport is such an important aspect of our island-life and this initiative will offer our athletes a new perspective when approaching their preparation for big competitions – both mentally and physically. It is an amazing opportunity for them as Dame Kelly will offer invaluable support and advice that could only come from somebody that has been in her position.’
Creechurch Capital boss John Greenwood said: ‘With interest in sport at an all-time high following an incredible home Olympic Games, we hope that everyone selected will be excited at the prospect of taking part and truly embrace the experience. Whilst some of our athletes have their eye on key competitions in the short-term, the programme is likely to leave us with a valuable long-term legacy via the 30 coaches who are totally committed to Isle of Man sport.’
The two-day educational camp will be followed up with a number of one-day sessions over the following 12 months.