Emma Pooley backing new sports academy to benefit Norfolk community

England's Emma Pooley, pictured with the silver medal she won in the time trial during the 2014 Comm

England's Emma Pooley, pictured with the silver medal she won in the time trial during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is backing the launch of the Norfolk Sports Academy. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Norwich cycling star Emma Pooley is among the high-profile supporters of a new academy to develop promising elite Norfolk athletes.

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

The NSA will offer athletes financial assistance, support workshops and sport services, mentoring, access to Sportspark training facilities and branded sports kit.

The scheme will run from September 1, 2016 until August 31, 2017, with applications now being invited from athletes over the age of 18 who are ranked top 10 nationally, or in a representative team in their home county who reside in Norfolk.

The scheme has the backing of 2008 Olympic time trial silver medallist and 2010 world time trial champion Pooley, as well as Norfolk-based broadcaster Jake Humphrey.

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'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,' said Pooley.

'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.

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'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.'

Phil Steele, chairman of the NSA and director of sport at the 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 closing date for applications is Wednesday, June 15. For full details, go to norfolksportsacademy.co.uk

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