The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of SportsAid, has today joined thirty 16 to 20-year-old athletes at a workshop designed to help them on their journey to the Olympic or Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 or PyeongChang in 2018.
Hosted by GSK at its cutting-edge Human Performance Lab in west London, the athletes took part in a series of scientific assessments on respiration, temperature, power, cognition and body composition before joining a mentoring session with Olympic swimmer Keri-anne Payne and having a chance to meet Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir CBE.
The Duchess of Cambridge took two cognitive tests to experience firsthand what the athletes had been doing. The tests measured reaction time and help facilitate skill acquisition and skill execution in athletes.
David Weir said, “It’s been a privilege to meet the athletes here today and share their achievements and challenges with the Duchess. It’s a long road to Tokyo but her support will make a big difference and with the right approach, it’s achievable. It’s exciting to think these athletes could be part of the next generation of British sporting heroes and I wish all of them the very best of luck.”
Another of the assessments seen by the Duchess today took place in an environmental chamber set to the heat and humidity of Tokyo. Sprinter Shona Richards, 19 from Epsom in Surrey, who this summer won two silver medals at the junior world championships, described the opportunity as a “brilliant experience".
“It’s been really good, this is one of those places you hear about but you don’t really get an opportunity to go to. So being here is a huge deal and I’m so glad I was invited. It was incredible to meet the Duchess, it’s something I never thought I’d do.
“We spoke about the day and the facilities, the support I’ve had from SportsAid and what I’m aiming for in the future. I’ve been supported by SportsAid for quite a few years now and I can honestly say that it’s one of those things that people don’t realise how much help it does give you as an athlete. There are a lot of places I couldn’t have been, a lot of places I couldn’t have raced without SportsAid, and that needs to be recognised as a huge influence in sport.”
SportsAid’s Chief Executive Tim Lawler said, “We’re very grateful to GSK for opening the Human Performance Lab up to these athletes today and for the fantastic insight it’s given them. We’re also delighted to have the Duchess with us as her support will give a huge boost to these inspirational young people, acknowledging all the sacrifices that they and their families are making for the future of British sport.”
Charles Leslie, Global Head of the GSK Human Performance Lab, added, “It was great to support these talented young athletes and their coaches today. We hope the research our science team carried out will help them achieve their goals and that the Duchess enjoyed finding out how science can help the next generation of British athletes.”
The GSK Human Performance Lab carries out research with elite performers - athletes, sports teams, extreme explorers - to better understand how the body and brain function. This allows its scientists to help develop improved training, recovery, nutrition and competition programmes for partners. In return, the research helps GSK develop products that better meet the healthcare needs of consumers and informs wider GSK research.
The SportsAid athletes who attended the workshop are:
- Aml Sinclair, 17 from London (fencing)
- Annabel Chaffey, 16 from Newbury in Berkshire (bobsleigh)
- Chloe Kelly, 16 from London (football)
- Chris Kandu, 19 from Enfield in Middlesex (athletics)
- Danielle Opara, 19 from Reading in Berkshire (athletics)
- Daryll Neita, 18 from London (athletics)
- David King, 17 from Horsham in West Sussex (badminton)
- David Knott, 17 from Eastleigh in Hampshire (goalball)
- Elena Rayer, 17 from Maidenehad in Berkshire (hockey)
- Emma Allen, 17 from Southampton in Hampshire (golf)
- Erin Nabney, 17 from Pinner in Middlesex (swimming)
- Gemma McArthur, 16 from Fleet in Hampshire (diving)
- George Oyebode, 16 from Reigate in Surrey (hockey)
- Grace Lazard, 17 from Bournemouth in Dorset (volleyball)
- Harriet Kelsey, 16 from Wokingham in Berkshire (archery)
- Henry Bloodworth, 16 from Tadworth in Surrey (sailing)
- Jack Plumley, 16 from Hertford in Hertfordshire (cycling)
- Kate Curran, 18 from Hawley in Kent (triathlon)
- Katie Bradley, 17 from Plymouth in Devon (taokwondo)
- Luke Penney, 19 from Teddington in Middlesex (triathlon)
- Marco Penge, 16 from Horsham in West Sussex (golf)
- Megan Wood, 17 from Hythe in Kent (wheelchair basketball)
- Michael Rowlands, 16 from Chatham in Kent (freestyle skiing)
- Sheikh Sheikh, 19 from Forest Gate in London (wheelchair athletics)
- Shona Richards, 19 from Epsom in Surrey (athletics)
- Toby Gold, 20 from Thames Ditton in Surrey (athletics)
- SportsAid and event photos: Call Simon Worsfold at SportsAid on 020 7273 1978 or 07960 357116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- GSK Human Performance Lab: Call David Tucker on 07880 182 646 or email email@example.com
- SportsAid is the only national charity of its kind (#1111612), helping young British sportsmen and women who aspire to be the nation's next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth or world champions.
- The charity's patron is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.
- At the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games almost two-thirds of the British team were former recipients of SportsAid's support, winning 20 of Team GB's 29 gold medals and 27 of ParalympicsGB's 34 gold medals.
- At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games more than 450 of the athletes competing were previously supported by SportsAid, with 241 of them winning medals.
- For more information visit www.sportsaid.org.uk, follow @TeamSportsAid on Twitter, contact the charity on Facebook, connect on LinkedIn, or sign up to receive its monthly newsletter.
GSK Human Performance Lab
- The GSK Human Performance Lab is a world class science facility focused on applied and discovery research that combines GSK science expertise, external advisors and cutting edge technology dedicated to deepening our understanding of human performance.
- The GSK HPL works in partnership with individuals and organisations committed to elite human performance – professional athletes, sports teams, extreme explorers – to better understand how the body and brain function. The research carried out will help GSK HPL scientists develop improved training, recovery, nutrition and competition programmes for partners. In return, the research helps GSK develop products that better meet the healthcare needs of consumers and informs wider GSK research.
- The facility works with nearly 50 research partners and over 200 athletes including; the Olympic medal winning Brownlee brothers, David Weir CBE, McLaren and the RFU.
- For more information visit www.gskhpl.com