Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes officially launched the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme at the National Sports Centre last weekend with special guests from the Island’s sporting fraternity and VIPs in attendance plus Olympic Bronze medallist, GB Hockey player Alex Danson and Olympic cycling Champion Peter Kennaugh.
After winning the Isle of Man’s first Olympic Gold medal for one hundred years, it was fitting that Kennaugh, 23, who won the Team Pursuit at London 2012, was able to attend the launch and inspire a whole new generation that anything is possible. Alex Danson supported workshops throughout the weekend, passing on advice and tips from her sporting career that began at a very young age, when she made her senior debut for Great Britain at the age of 16.
Some of the chosen athletes spoke of their excitement at being part of the first weekend of the new programme.
Gymnast Tara Donnelly, 13 said:
“The Kelly Holmes Education programme has really helped me with my sport already. The experience has been something I’ll never forget. The programme has inspired me and will definitely help me in the future!”
Lara Ward, 45, who competes in shooting said:
“The whole weekend has been an inspiration and the fact that every workshop was adapted to be as sport specific as possible was brilliant.”
The programme is a unique opportunity for the Island’s best athletes to really kick start their journey to the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow. Delivered by Kelly Holmes Education, it brings together Isle of Man Sport, the Isle of Man Coaches Association and the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association to inspire a new generation of sports champions. The scheme is being supported by three of the Island’s most well-known businesses Creechurch Capital, Microgaming and SMP Partners. Their funding has allowed for over 50 athletes and 30 coaches from a range of sporting disciplines to take part.
Paul Bridson, on behalf of the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure said:
“It was a real pleasure to welcome the Kelly Holmes Education team to the Island last weekend. We have a great mix of local athletes inspired from the workshops and eager to learn more. It was fantastic to learn from the insight of three Olympians that have reached the pinnacle of sporting achievement. This is a huge venture for the Island and I know that the weekend’s events had a very positive impact on the aspirations and ultimately future performance of our athletes.”
Jayne Evett, Level 5 high performance gymnastics coach added:
“The coaching development workshop was mind blowing. It left me excited to try out the processes and has made me want to self-review my own coaching practices so that I can improve along with my athletes.”
Juliet Holt, President of the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association, said:
“The Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association is delighted to be involved in the Sporting Excellence Programme delivered by Kelly Holmes Education. We are extremely grateful to the sponsors for giving our athletes the opportunity to benefit from the experience of such high level sportsmen and sportswomen. All the aspiring Glasgow 2014 athletes and coaches found the whole weekend inspirational and look forward to applying the knowledge they have gained to their training programmes.”
The two-day educational camp will be followed up with a number of one-day sessions over the coming twelve months; the next day will take place at the end of November.