Celebrations are underway at an elite sporting academy in Bournemouth as students there celebrate huge successes in beach volleyball, triathlon and golf.
Just one month after the LeAF Academy threw open its doors, two students Sam Allen and Sam Walrond, both aged 16, have been selected to represent Great Britain in the Brazil Sport Games in Rio in November. Their selection for the British junior squad is the first small step on the path to 2016 Olympic selection and enables them to gain vital experience at international level.
The boys are among 58 elite athletes studying at LeAF, which has cutting edge facilities and shares a campus with Oakmead College of Technology. Other recent successes include triathlete Joe Arundel, 16, who was crowned winner of the Brooks South West Triathlon Series this weekend. Golfer Georgia Hall, 16, is ranked third in the world and also attends the academy and footballers Sam Carter, 16 and Chris Stratford, 17, have been selected to play for Poole Town.
Dr Annetta Minard, executive principal of LeAF said: “Given they’re just a month into their professional development at LeAF these are remarkable achievements by our talented athletes – I have no doubt many of them will be the Olympic and international sporting stars of the future.
“We’ve welcomed a wonderful team of new staff to LeAF; including our academy director Joel Banks who is also the Great Britain Men’s Indoor Volleyball coach, GB volleyballers and Olympians Ben Pipes and Dan Hunter and Olympic physiotherapist Karen Beattie. They’re working alongside our talented team of coaches, nutritionists and professional sportsmen and women to bring out the very best in our students.”
Students attending the LeAF Academy take part in academic learning alongside professional training in their chosen sports.
Director Joel Banks added: “Gaining a place to compete in Rio is a tremendous achievement for our volleyballers – Brazil really is the Mecca of beach volleyball. The GB selection panel were reassured by the support and professional care the students receive at LeAF and that was a major factor in their decision making.”