A select team of TASS athletes are ready to have their say after joining a groundbreaking group formed to improve the student sport experience.

The student-athlete representatives, who are currently being supported by TASS, have been appointed to the inaugural Talented Athlete Advisory Group (TAAG).

The group was established to ensure the Sport England-backed organisation continues to deliver the very best on and off the field support to the country’s leading athletes.

Hailing from across England, the TAAG is made up of nine athletes aged between 17 and 25, who are at various stages of their sporting and professional careers.

Competing in nine different sports and receiving core services at nine separate institutions, the TAAG members form a diverse cross section of the TASS network.

Chaired by GB weightlifter and TASS alumna Sarah Davies, the advisory group will primarily look to enhance the existing student sport pathway.

The TAAG will report directly to the TASS Management Board with their recommendations and suggestions to develop the delivery of the dual-career Scheme.

TAAG member Issa Batrane is studying Computing at Bournemouth University and has competed internationally for both the Junior and Senior England Beach Volleyball teams.

“I’m really looking forward to being a voice of TASS athletes from across the country and shining a light on anything that could improve upon what is already a great support scheme.

TAAG is important to the athletes as it’s a means for them to have an input but it is also hugely beneficial for TASS as we will act as a platform for the organisation to interact with the athletes.

Batrane has recently begun his second year of support from TASS. “The multiple services athletes get like physio, nutrition and strength and conditioning are all so helpful.

Of course finances play a big role in helping us with travel and equipment expenses, but to actually have a professional practitioner writing a programme for you is even better”.

Rower James Robson is also a member of the newly formed TAAG and is currently studying for a Masters degree in International Politics at Newcastle University.

The 22-year-old is hoping to shape the future for fellow emerging athletes. “There is a real range of athletes in the group,” said Robson.

“I’m excited to get to know them all. I come from a sport that’s a very tight knit community and I would like to think we can help to replicate that model elsewhere.

“Having competed in a sport like rowing and having played competitive sport for a few years I started to develop a sense that I could help to make the future better for student athletes.

“I feel TAAG can have a genuine impact and influence change. It’s a fantastic scheme but we are here to ensure it becomes even better in the future.”

Jack Grundy, TASS Lead for Athlete Support and Education, is driving the TAAG project.

He said: “It is incredibly exciting for TASS to have formed the TAAG as we have not had athlete representation like this before.

TAAG will give us the opportunity to gain essential feedback back from the support program as well as capture the impacts and improvements to be made within the network.

“Not only will it help TASS improve and develop the scheme but it has created a chance for TASS athletes to develop key transferable skills for future transitions to come.”

TAAG Members:

Chair – Sarah Davies – Weightlifting

Emma Vickers – Table Tennis – Nottingham Trent University
Jonny Jones – Canoe Sprint – University of Birmingham
James Robson – Rowing – Newcastle University
Issa Batrane – Volleyball – Bournemouth University
Genevieve Randall – Synchronised Swimming – Oxford Brookes University
Rachael Hawkes – Judo – British Army/University of Bath
Adam Freeman – CP Football – Loughborough University
Mo Adepoju – Basketball – University of Essex
Claudia Walker – Women’s Football – Liverpool John Moores University