Norfolk Sports Academy project officially launched

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Some of Norfolk’s elite athletes will be able to benefit from a newly-launched sports academy scheme from today.

The project aims to provide support and mentoring to 15 promising sportsmen and women.

Based at the University of East Anglia’ Sportspark in Norwich, the academy will offer them workshops and financial assistance.

Experts will be brought in to offer advice on everything from nutrition, sports psychology, injury prevention and media training.

The athletes will also receive around £1,000 each to help with equipment and travel costs.

So far, nine people from across the county have been accepted onto the academy scheme, with five places now remaining.

Athlete Danny Nobbs, 37, who competes in seated javelin, said the support offered by the academy was vital for people competing at the top level.

“There is a big gap in support for athletes who are showing talent before they get to that elite level,” he added. “So having these services and facilities available will make it easier for them.”

The project costs around £20,000 each year to run, of which £16,000 has been secured thanks to funding from six different Norfolk businesses.

Phil Steele, chairman of the Norfolk Sports Academy and director of sport at UEA, said: “The sportspark creates opportunities for people to be physically active and to enjoy sport. But at the top end, this is about enabling people to be the best they can be and to help them compete in a very difficult sector.”

He said the UEA is to introduce a sports scholarship scheme next year, which will bring in a further £30,000 of funding to the academy.

Article: Luke Powell, Picture: Dennis Bradley