Date: Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Twelve young and talented athletes have been selected for the Academy Southland programme in 2017 and are preparing to benefit from local expertise and a new facility to train in.

The athletes were selected from a large number of applications and represent 11 different sports.

Through until December 2018 they will learn skills that will be invaluable in a high performance environment, with mental skills and athlete life, nutrition and strength and conditioning all set to play a large role.

Five Southland athletes have also been selected to join the national Pathway to Podium programme; cyclists Tayla Lumsden, Corbin Strong, Hamish Keast and Ewan Syme, and para-cyclist Hannah Pascoe.

They will each receive a similar level of support to those within Academy Southland, the major difference being that they have been identified by their sport's national body, rather than their Regional Sports Organisation.

Academy Southland co-ordinator Carly Anderson said it was exciting to see so much young talent coming through.

"The standard of applications was exceptionally high, and it is great to have such a wide range of sports represented," she said.

"There's no doubt that they all have a huge amount of talent, and Academy Southland is about supporting those crucial things they need alongside that to succeed in their chosen sports."

This year's athletes will get the added benefit of training in the Mike Piper Training Centre; alongside many of Southland's high performance athletes.

The athletes have already had a taste of what is to come with the Academy Southland programme; attending a camp in Dunedin alongside Academy Otago athletes.

The camp included practical activities, including sessions on coachability and focus, as well as the chance to learn about athlete life, an introduction to mental skills, self massage, hydration, media skills, functional movement and a question and answer session with athletes who had been through the Academy programme.

Academy Southland is a talent development programme, designed to support young athletes and officials as they enter the high performance environment.

The programme has Year 1, Year 2 and Scholarship components and is governed by Talent Development Southland and supported by the ILT Foundation, Community Trust of Southland and Sport Southland.

At a glance

2017 Academy Southland athletes: Andrew Allan (Athletics), Kendall Buckingham (Rugby/Sevens), Josh Burnett (BMX/MTB), Jack Corkery (Swimming), Tom Cowie (Basketball), Mitchell Kempton (Squash), Tayla Lumsden (Cycling), Jack Mockford (Cricket), Emily Paterson (Cycling), Imogen Peterson (Gymnastics), Ella Smith (Badminton) and Xavier Wright (Rowing).

Pathway to Podium Southland athletes: Tayla Lumsden (Cycling), Corbin Strong (Cycling), Hamish Keast (Cycling), Ewan Syme (Cycling) and Hannah Pascoe (Para-Cycling).

Caption: Academy Southland new athletes for the year, front row from left, Imogen Peterson, Emily Paterson, Ella Smith, Kendall Buckingham, Tayla Lumsden, Hannah Pascoe. Middle row from left, Jack Corkery, Mitchell Kempton, Andrew Allan, Josh Burnett and Hamish Keast. Back row from left, Jack Mockford, Xavier Wright and Tom Cowie.
Article and photo courtesy Stuff

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