LAWRENCE CLARKE COLUMN: Funding system helps make results less of a lottery (From Bicester Advertiser)
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LAWRENCE CLARKE COLUMN: Funding system helps make results less of a lottery
6:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
LAST week the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for the British athletics team was announced.
Crossing both the Olympic and Paralympic sides of the sport, it awards financial and medical support for the forthcoming year.
I am one of the fortunate athletes to be included on this WCPP at the Podium level, based on my performance at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The selection criteria aims to promote future success rather than reward past successes.
There are five levels and I began on the bottom rung (E) when I won the European Junior Championships in 2009.
I moved up following the 2010 Commonwealth Games and after reaching the Olympic final in London I was elevated to the second highest Podium level.
This reflects a “realistic potential to win an individual medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Most of the athletes retained at this level tend to be younger, with the emphasis on the future of their careers.
Those on the highest level are already medallists and are aiming to maintain that top performance.
Retention on these levels can be effected by injuries or whether an athlete has failed to reach individual targets set in conjunction with the performance director at the beginning of the year.
The most influential and important ingredient of the WCPP is the access to the medical support network.
As a funded athlete I have access to physiotherapists, doctors, nutritionists, psychologists and, most importantly, my coach.
Without this support system, it would be very hard to push the physical boundaries that many of my international competitors do.
The margin between a medal and being an also-ran in my event, the 110m hurdles, is defined by thousandths of a second.
Having an efficient training schedule with the right team to identify strengths and weaknesses is essential.
Over the past couple of years when I have suffered serious injuries, the support team I have has helped me get back to competitive form time and time again.
The Lottery funding system helped me achieve my goal of reaching London 2012 and it is a key part of British sporting success.
Let’s hope the 2016 Olympic Games can further show the positive effect of the UK Sport system.
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