More than 130 promising young Manx athletes have joined the 2023-2025 Sport Aid Academy two-year training programme.
Isle of Man Sport welcomed the athletes, aged from 13-16, from various sports including rugby, swimming, gymnastics and football.
The programme, which started in 2015 and runs from September to April each year, allows for students to be nominated by sport governing bodies or schools to participate in the comprehensive curriculum covering team building, review performance, rest and recovery, as well as physical preparation.
This holistic approach ensures participants excel in their sports while acquiring essential life skills for their personal and athletic development.
Paul Jones, sports performance coordinator at Isle of Man Sport, said: ‘The academy fosters an environment that nurtures development of young athletes, to help them better understand their roles, responsibilities, behaviours, and skills required to move forward with a career in sport.
‘We are dedicated to supporting their growth and progress in sports, and we’re excited to collaborate with a group showcasing immense potential.’
Supported by sponsors, Suntera Global and Newfield, the Sport Aid Academy builds on the legacy of the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme led by Dame Kelly Holmes and Kelly Holmes Education from 2012 to 2014.
Mark Reynolds, chief operating officer of Suntera Global, said: ‘We are delighted to support the Sport Aid Academy once again and look forward to the newly designed programme.
‘Paul and the team have put a lot of effort into ensuring the initiative is beneficial to the young people and their parents, and I have no doubt that the work shops will play a significant role in helping those working towards becoming an elite athlete and, more importantly, supporting the development of some key life skills regardless of whether a career in sport is achieved.’
Denis Mikan, chief executive of Newfield, added: ‘Sport Aid Academy is a fantastic sporting programme that we thoroughly enjoy being involved with, watching as the young people and their parents progress and develop over the course of each year.
‘The first three events have got this Academy cohort off to a great start and set a precedent for the 18 months ahead.’
Isle of Man Sport Aid is confident that this initiative will contribute to the success of Manx athletes, propelling them toward excellence in their chosen sports.
Among the sportspeople the registered charity has supported over the years are Mark Cavendish, Yasmin Ingham and Lizzie Holden. Consideration will shortly commence for the 2024-2026 cohort.