Taste of the top

Danielle, Jack and Eldon
Danielle, Jack and Eldon

PROMISING young athletes got a taste of higher education when they took part in a university masterclass.

Danielle Smith, Eldon Myers and Jack Chapman, who are sport and exercise students at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, took part in the Performance Analysis of an Elite Athlete masterclass at Teesside University.

The event was part of a series of twilight masterclasses held at the university for specially-invited gifted and talented Year 12 students.

Along with the sport masterclass, which has achieved the 2012 Inspire Mark for the Olympic/Paralympic Games, other subject areas included engineering, games programming, business, midwifery, physiotherapy and journalism.

During their sports session, the students worked with Dan Eaves, senior lecturer in sport and exercise in the university’s School of Social Sciences & Law.

They learned about the various sports scientific methods available for testing elite performance and looked at the effectiveness of different performance analysis techniques.

Danielle, 17, who plays netball with England Colleges and is a Superleague netball player for Northumbria, said: “I got involved in netball when I was in primary school and joined a team in Hartlepool.

“I’ve never missed a session in nine years. It’s been great being at the university and seeing the facilities. I’m also benefiting from learning about key areas of fitness.”

Eldon, 16, who plays rugby with England Colleges, said: “We’re all thinking ahead to university as although I’m aiming to go as far as I can in rugby, education is important too.”

Jack, 18, is a Durham county rugby player, and also plays with the GB ice hockey team and competes in hammer-throwing.

He said: “I became involved in sports in school, as I was lucky enough to have a sports teacher who really encouraged my progression and involvement in different sports.”

Ben Robinson, director of sport at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “We’re delighted to get involved as it has provided the young athletes with a taste of higher education and how it differs from sixth form.

“The programme is also helping to develop our elite young athletes at the college.”