20 August 2012>
32 soon to be Year 7 comprehensive pupils have been put through their paces this week on an intensive 4 day More Able and Talented (MAT) Gold Camp.
The 16 boys and 16 girls were selected to take part in the Gold Camp following their excellent performances during a previous 14 week MAT programme, which involved the top 10% of pupils from primary schools, and children from community clubs and National Governing Bodies across the borough.
Through the week, the children visited the Sport Wales facility in Cardiff and were given fitness testing. They then received sessions delivered by Welsh Athletics, Welsh Hockey, Valley's Gymnastics Academy and Welsh Cycling, and ended the week with swimming and fitness suite sessions with leisure centre staff.
As well as Sport Caerphilly staff being on hand to coach these aspiring athletes, Young Ambassadors and Olympic Football Ball Boys, Cory Mahoney and Matthew Page acted as volunteers during the week, demonstrating to the children that goals are achievable through motivation and dedication to sport.
Melanie Evans, whose son Rhys took part in the Gold Camp, thanked Sport Caerphilly, "Rhys thoroughly enjoyed everything, especially the gymnastics, and it was wonderful to see him so enthused about the week, especially after his excitement with the Olympics. He loves sport and hopefully it has now given him a taster of a number of other sports and activities he can try his hand to. Many thanks for all the teams' hard work in making this week so interesting and inspiring."
As a major priority of the Education Minister, the provision of training and coaching for More Able and Talented children is something high on the agenda of Sport Caerphilly. Before the MAT programme was introduced, there was no provision for MAT pupils beyond sport in schools.
Cllr Dave Poole, Caerphilly County Borough Council's Cabinet Member responsible for Community and Leisure Services, commented, "It has been highlighted in research of Sport Wales' 'Sport Accelerate' programme, that MAT children need more challenges so that they can truly reach their sporting potential. Through the Sport Caerphilly MAT Gold Camp, 32 of our most talented children have been suitably challenged and have learnt significant skills which they can use for life, in whichever sport they choose to pursue."
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