Framlingham College’s Kitty McWhirter and 11 other hockey players from across the country attended the Youth Sport Trust’s National Talent Camp at Loughborough University on 3 – 6 January, where they were put through their paces and learnt what it takes to become Olympic champions with sprinter, Darren Campbell. They joined 90 other aspiring young athletes at the sixth national camp, run by leading youth sport charity, the Youth Sport Trust.
Inspired by Team GBs historic success at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, these promising young sports stars reflected on what has been an outstanding year for British sport and use this inspiration to motivate them on their journey into elite sport.
The four day event offered England’s most talented 13-18 year olds insight in the world of performance sport and the harsh reality of the demands and commitment required to be the best in their chosen sport. Seven sports were represented at the 2013 camp with athletes selected to attend from Hockey, Rugby Union, Cycling, Canoeing, Volleyball, Netball, Wheelchair Basketball and a number of athletes across different sports selected by the British Paralympic Association.
Six am starts, two intense training sessions a day, a series of challenging workshops led by leading sports psychologists and athlete mentors and nutritious but basic meals from the camp’s country theme; Nanjing, China, where duck blood soup is the speciality of the region; the athletes are not in for an easy ride. The youngsters will hear from guest speakers including coaches from the England RFU Coaching team; Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree, sports psychologist, Robbie Anderson and mountaineer Bonita Norris; the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
In 2007, the camp played host to Olympic Gold medallist rower, Katherine Copeland, who claimed Britain’s fourth rowing gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games with doubles partner, Sophie Hosking.
Athens 2004 Olympic Gold medallist and Youth Sport Trust ambassador, Darren Campbell, shared his experiences of his journey to elite sporting success and the pressures of being an elite sport performer.