New athletes get set to shape future of support scheme

Wheelchair basketball athlete Lucy Robinson on the court

A fresh cohort of current TASS athletes from across the country are sharing their experiences of the support scheme having been named in the Talented Athlete Advisory Group (TAAG) for 2017/18.

Rhys Thompson (judo) and Lois Peake (table tennis) are both from Loughborough University, Emily Hewitt (canoeing) will represent Oxford Brookes, Lucy Robinson (wheelchair basketball) accesses TASS services at Sheffield Hallam and Danielle Brown (football) is based at Durham University, while Byron Down (disability football) will represent UEL and Sarah Collin (modern pentathlon) will be the voice of TASS athletes at University of Bath.

The select group of seven new athletes will be welcomed by returning members James Robson (rowing, Newcastle University), Issa Batrane (volleyball, Bournemouth University) and Jonny Jones (canoeing, University of Birmingham) to have their say about the future of the Scheme.

Chaired by world class weightlifter and TASS alumna, Sarah Davies, the representatives will be tasked with providing recommendations and suggestions on behalf of the athlete community about how to improve the dual career scheme.

And the TAAG got together for the first time last week at Northumbria University to share their views from a wide variety of sports and TASS Delivery Sites, as well as to set the key objectives for the year ahead.

New member, 21-year-old judoka Rhys Thompson, who has been receiving TASS’ support for three years, said:

“I’m excited to learn more about the other members of TAAG and share some of our experiences of student athlete life. I think the TAAG is a great model for collecting athlete feedback and I hope we can use this to make real positive changes to TASS delivery.”

Meanwhile, Sports Performance student Sarah Collin, added: “There’s a lot in the media at the moment about the partnership between athletes, coaches and performance teams.

“I think it’s really important to provide support for the wellbeing and management of athletes in order for them to reach their potential, so I’m really excited to work with both athletes and the TASS performance team and practitioners.

“I’m really looking forward to listening and learning from lots of different people’s experience to find the best methods to help athlete reach their goals and potential.”

Loughborough-based table tennis player, Lois Peake, is positive about the benefits of the TASS programme having received its support for the past two years.

“It’ll be really interesting to learn about the intricacies of different sports, the challenges that other student-athletes face and working with TASS to help overcome these obstacles,” she said.

“As a group, we aim to empower athlete’s voices by working with TASS to develop the already fantastic support they provide athletes.”

Lois Peake competing