Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Earlier this year, Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa, in association with Education Leeds, began its quest to find a promising young sports-person that it could support with free gym use and specialist sports guidance for a year...

The plan was to find one talented young athlete that the hotel could help to fulfill their potential.
But when it came to choosing the winner, things got tricky. The applications were so good that Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa’s General Manager, Gordon Jackson, decided to award not one sponsorship package, but three. Fiona Berry, 15, Sam Parker, 15, and Rachael Speight, 16, so impressed Gordon that each of them was awarded the special red letter prize. The three winning candidates have been awarded a year’s membership to use the hotel’s spa and gym facilities so that they can continue their sporting development. They will also receive invaluable, specialist training and nutritional guidance from a qualified team of experts.

Fiona is a student at Garforth Community College. She has played for Manchester United for four seasons and for Leeds United Centre for Excellence for one season. She has also been selected to play for England’s under 15 team in five international matches.

Sam is a student at Temple Moor High School and is a keen participant in a number of sports, particularly rugby, cricket, football and badminton. He plays for Whitkirk Cricket Club, Leeds Taveners, his school cricket team, Colton Juniors Football Club and has represented Leeds at badminton. He has been described by his rugby coach as “a very professional player, both on and off the field”.

Rachael is a student at Garforth Community College, and despite winning the hockey National Shield 2007 with Leeds Adel Carnegie Hockey Team, has an even greater talent for athletics. She is currently ranked 13th in the UK in the 300m sprint, and holds the all-time record at Leeds City Athletics Club for both under 17s and senior women. She has targeted the 2016 Olympics, and maybe even 2012, if her training goes well.

This is a brilliant initiative. Let's hope Fiona, Sam and Rachael use this opportunity to take their talents to new heights and achieve even greater things.

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