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Media invite: Medway Sporting Academy Launch

Date: 19/11/2008           Category: Young People

Please join us for the official media launch of Medway Sporting Academy, at The Black Lion Leisure Centre, Gillingham (main sports hall) at 10.45am on Tuesday, 25 November. The Medway Sporting Academy is a pioneering new initiative by Medway Council to provide a structured pathway to excellence for Medway’s talented young athletes. Medway Council has identified the need for a clear, structured approach to talent development and support as part of its 2012 campaign, and is understood to be the first local authority in the country to deliver a development programme of this kind. Working in partnership with schools, universities, clubs and national governing bodies, the Medway Sporting Academy is a five-year programme in which young people can realise their potential. Children selected for the academy are identified for their all-around natural ability and assessed by expert coaches for their suitability to sport. Induction into the academy will take place every September for children identified during the previous 12 months. Recruitment will take place through the Mini Youth Games – a series of 10 inter-school sports tournaments featuring over 2,000 primary school children competing in events including swimming, table tennis, badminton, cricket tag rugby and athletics. Starting in January, sports club coaches will identify the 25 most skilled children at each event. These pupils will be entered in to the Qualifier, a skills assessment day held at Medway Park. Teachers will also be invited to nominate additional children for the Qualifier who they believe have the suitable skills but have so far gone under the radar. The qualifier will feature around 500 children. In the morning the children will all be measured and tested across a range of disciplines. The scores from these tests will be used to identify approximately 100 of the top-performing children. The successful children will then have the opportunity to spend the afternoon receiving sports coaching. These sessions will be used to identify the final 80 academy recruits. The monthly academy sessions will focus on developing the children’s skills in areas including footwork, agility, hand-eye co-ordination, balance, flexibility, speed, strength and concentration. Sessions will include skills coaching, drills, small-sided exercises, sports science education and physical conditioning. Each academy recruit’s performances, scores and development will be analysed at the end of the year by the academy and the club coaches. If successful, the recruits will progress to the second year of the academy when the intensity and level of the sessions increases. This will continue until the children are 15, or until they have graduated from the five-year programme. The Academy’s patron, paralympic gold medallist and world record holder Danny Crates, will officially open the academy. Danny said, “I am very honored to be patron of the Medway Sporting Academy. It is essential that we harness the talent of our future champions, and nurture it in a controlled environment. Medway is definitely leading the field in this area.” Pupils from Featherby Junior School, St Margaret’s Junior School and Park Wood Junior School are taking part in the academy’s pilot project and will be at the launch. Medway Sporting Ambassador and Commonwealth bronze medallist winner Shaunagh Brown is also expected to attend. ENDS Editors/photographers: please confirm your attendance by contacting Lisa Caleno on 01634 338308 or email lisa.caleno@medway.gov.uk