The future of British sport is set to get a boost when 110 young British Olympic hopefuls jet off to a multi-sport warm weather training camp in Orlando, Florida, with British Airways this month.
The athletes, drawn from all over the UK, are taking part in a unique joint initiative between the British Olympic Association and British Airways called the British Airways Olympic Futures Programme, designed to develop the sportsmen and women of the future.
Sports Minister Tony Banks sent a special message of support to the athletes aged between 12 and 18, and said: “It is essential for our athletes to compete on equal terms to those from other countries and I hope this programme will lead to the further sporting success of Great Britain. “
Some of the athletes will be training for the Sydney Games 2000, others for the Winter Games in 2002 and the Athens Games in 2004. This is the first ever initiative of this kind which would not have been possible without sponsorship from British Airways.
British Olympic silver medallist Sharron Davies will attend the two week warm weather training camp in Florida to help the athletes prepare for the rigours of the ultimate sporting challenge.
She said: “The British Airways Olympic Futures Programme is vital within sport today. The ability for young, developing athletes to take part in multi-sport training camps, and to access top quality coaching and facilities, is most important. If athletes of my generation had been able to access this kind of scheme then Britain would have had even more success within the international sporting arena. The British Airways Olympic Futures Camps are giving Britain the chance to build for the future.”
The camp covers training for athletics, cycling, basketball, judo, badminton, gymnastics and swimming.