UK Sport Talent 11 July 2011
Olympic gold medallists Christine Ohuruogu and Amy Williams have today launched a call to unearth future Olympians with an aptitude for speed and power.
The athletics and bob skeleton champions were joined by sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, England Sevens rugby players Tom Powell and Heather Fisher to launch the UK Talent Team (UK Sport and English Institute of Sport) initiative 'Power2Podium', the latest in a series of successful talent identification schemes.
The talent search is targeting sportsmen and women between the ages of 15 and 26 that possess the speed, power and raw talent to potentially represent GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Power2Podium will use the latest sports science and technology, along with coaching expertise, to test sporting potential and look to uncover the next generation of athletes in the predominantly speed and power sports of athletics, rugby sevens, bobsleigh and skeleton, canoeing, sprint cycling and weightlifting. Applicants are being invited to sign up at www.uksport.gov.uk/talent
Ohuruogu, the current 400m Olympic champion who discovered athletics later in her career having made a successful transition from netball, said, "Finding the next generation of Olympic athletes is so important for the continued success of sport in Britain.
"When I was growing up I loved playing lots of different sports and wasn't sure whether I wanted to play netball or become a sprinter. Schemes like Power2Podium will really help talented young people fulfil their sporting potential."
Williams, who famously became the first British individual Winter Olympics gold medallist for 30 years when she won the bob skeleton title in Vancouver last year, added, "I started my sporting career as a 400m sprinter and it wasn't until I was at university that I discovered that my real talent was in bob skeleton.
"Trying a new sport was both exhilarating and a great challenge and it is very exciting to think that the next generation of potential British sportsmen and women could be just a few tests away from uncovering their hidden sporting talent."
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and England Sevens rugby players Tom Powell and Heather Fisher were also on hand at today's launch, with the latter pair hoping to play a key role in the GB team in Rio where the sport will be making its Olympic debut.
Powell, who has scored 20 tries in 13 IRB tournaments for England, said, "It's an exciting time for rugby as we look ahead to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 where sevens will be included for the first time. We need to find the best potential out there to help us field a world class team and really make our mark at the biggest sporting event on earth."
Power2Podium comes after the success a number of other UK Talent Team initiatives including Sporting Giants and Girls4Gold and since 2007 a total of 51 athletes across 15 sports have made 160 international appearances and won 54 medals, including eight World and three European Championship plus nine World Cup prizes.
Chelsea Warr, Head of Athlete Development at UK Sport, added: "We are very excited about the potential of Power2Podium to uncover the sporting stars of tomorrow. We know that this approach to talent identification and development works and that there are people out there that have the potential to become an Olympian but they just don't realise it yet.
"Power2Podium provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to come and train under the guidance of world class coaches and specialists in British elite sport before hopefully one day pulling on a British jersey at the Olympics."
Further information and detail about signing up is available at www.uksport.gov.uk/talent.