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Sportspark and The Norwich School launch new academy for promising local talent

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A new academy to develop promising elite Norfolk athletes has been announced, supported by Olympian Emma Pooley and sports presenter Jake Humphrey.

The new Norfolk Sports Academy (NSA) has been launched by by Sportspark at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and is an extension to the Young Norfolk Sports Academy managed by the Norwich School.

The NSA will offer a comprehensive package including financial assistance, support workshops & sport services, mentoring, access to Sportspark training facilities and branded sports kit.

The scheme launches in May 2016 will run from 1 September 2016 – 31 August 2017. Applications are invited from top level athletes who are ranked top 10 nationally, or in a representative team in their home county, who are resident in Norfolk and aged over 18 years old.

Phil Steele, Chairman of the Norfolk Sports Academy & Director of Sport at UEA said: “We are excited to provide an extension to the Young Norfolk Sports Academy for the county’s most promising athletes aged over 18. As well as being part of a physical tracking programme, members of the Academy will be taught to better manage their nutrition, psychology, injury rehabilitation and handling of the media.

“Sessions will be delivered by experts in their field and by current international athletes. In addition we will be introducing the ability to support an athlete’s physiological development by utilising testing regimes throughout the year. With the Rio Olympics on the horizon it is fantastic to think we could be supporting athletes hoping to compete in 2020 and beyond.”

The scheme has the backing of Olympic cyclist Emma Pooley, who is a British Olympic Association athlete supported by Sportspark. She said:  “The Norfolk Sports Academy is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring athletes to develop and progress in their chosen sports, with the support of the top class facilities and expertise of the UEA Sportspark. I know from my own career path how crucial it is for young people to have support and encouragement as they make the transition to elite sport, and the NSA’s link with the Young Norfolk Sports Academy will greatly contribute to this.

“Most of all, I’m delighted to see a Sports Academy at this level develop in Norfolk, enabling athletes to train at an elite level while maintaining links with their local clubs and grassroots sport. In this way, I believe the NSA will benefit the whole community by inspiring more sport and better health for everyone.”

Television sports presenter Jake Humphrey, originally from Norfolk, has also supported the scheme’s ambitions forge a greater support network in the county for emerging talented athletes.

He said: “In my role as a sports broadcaster I've been lucky enough to work with some of the greatest athletes of the 21 century. Olympic Champions, World Champions, and global icons. Yet, even at the very top level, one thing binds them all, support. People assume that talent alone will help you reach the top, but married to talent, athletes need constant support, guidance and mentoring to ensure they don't join the countless others who've talents have been lost. The Norfolk Sports Academy will make a tangible difference to the most talented young athletes across our region, ensuring they reach their maximum and and fulfil their potential.  I'm delighted to lend them my support.”

Ben Jones, Director of Active Norfolk, the County’s Sports Partnership organisation added: “Active Norfolk fully support the aspirations of the Norfolk Sports Academy. Providing tangible support to developing athletes is vital if we’re to grow our number of high-performing athletes across the county.”

The website is now live and full details regarding eligibility criteria, application form and all scheme details can be found at www.norfolksportsacademy.co.uk. Applications open from Wednesday 25th May with the closing date being Wednesday 15th June 2016.