24 July 2008
Today the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced the track and field athletes and coach who will take part in “Britain’s Olympic Ambition 2012” programme.
UK Athletics Talent Development Manager Jo Jennings, sprinter Asha Philip, middle distance hope Hannah England, (Oxford) and UK 400m hurdles champion Perri Shakes Drayton (Victoria Park TH) will all have their very own Olympic Experience.
The programme, designed to enhance athlete medal success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by providing talented potential team members with an opportunity to experience the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, will see approximately 150 athletes and coaches from 33 disciplines spend seven days in Macau and Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.
Whilst there, athletes will visit the Team GB preparation camp in Macau, the Olympic Village and the Athletes’ Lodge. In addition participants will be given the opportunity to watch two competition sessions for their specific discipline. The programme will be split into five phases:
Phase 1 5th - 11th August
Phase 2 8th - 14th August
Phase 3 11th - 17th August
Phase 4 14th - 20th August
Phase 5 17th - 23rd August
The phases will be accompanied by a mentor, Olympians like Denise Lewis, Ed Coode and Alison Mowbray.
This programme’s focus is based around providing sports specific event exposure and to replicate, as closely as possible, an athlete’s overall Olympic experience.
Commenting on their involvement:
Asha Phillip said:
“I’m absolutely thrilled that I will be getting to watch the Olympics up close in Beijing. I think that it will be a fantastic experience, and one that will really help me in preparation for 2012 where I hope to be competing.”
Perri Shakes Drayton said:
“Obviously I’m very excited to be selected. It’s going to be great to go back to Beijing – I was there two years ago for the World Junior Athletics Championships and really enjoyed it. It’ll be good to get a taste of what it will be like before I hopefully compete in London 2012.”
Denise Lewis, who will be the mentor for phase 5 which will include the athletics’ coach and athletes, said: "Britain’s Olympic Ambition Programme is a great opportunity for the athletes and coaches selected to gain first hand experience of how intense the whole process of being part of an Olympic Team really is.
"There will be lots to take in and absorb during this special visit but I am certain that what they will take back home with them will only enhance their preparations for London. Enjoy!"
Jo Jennings: “The three athletes who are part of the programme all have a real chance to be part of Team GB in 2012. The Olympic Games are unlike any other championship and it is a privilege and a great opportunity to go through the whole process, from kitting out to the preparation camp and then the multi-sport environment of the Games themselves. For the British Olympic Association to give us this opportunity is fantastic, especially considering the increased focus and pressure which we will experience with a home Olympics so any sort of advantage is a great thing. I am convinced that this programme will stand the athletes in good stead for 2012.
There will be a British presence in the Bird’s Nest when we go to watch the athletics competitions and for the athletes to be able to support someone in a Team GB vest will be a huge inspiration.”