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Training boost for Olympic rising stars

PUBLISHED: 07:07 27 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 July 2010

Olympics hopefuls Ben Bradshaw and Tim Pendle

Olympics hopefuls Ben Bradshaw and Tim Pendle

As the clock counts down to the 2012 Olympics two rising stars have been given a boost towards the games by a new scheme for bright young athletes.

Kayak racers Ben Bradshaw and Tim Pendle have both firmly got their eyes set on the London games after representing their country at a series of international tournaments.

As the clock counts down to the 2012 Olympics two rising stars have been given a boost towards the games by a new scheme for bright young athletes.

Kayak racers Ben Bradshaw and Tim Pendle have both firmly got their eyes set on the London games after representing their country at a series of international tournaments.

The sportsmen are being supported in Dereham thanks to a new scheme that gives them one-on-one training and free access to gym and swimming facilities.

Ben Bradshaw, lives in Elmham Road, Beetley, and recently moved to the Dereham area from London.

The 21-year-old, who works as a lifeguard, said: “There's a much better set up here than in London, the clubs were full of Saturday and Sunday paddlers. The more you train the more it becomes part of your body process, you've got to keep moving.

“Having the Olympics in England takes a bit of pressure off the athletes because you don't have to be selected to go to the games - you just have to be the fastest in the country. Taking part is the dream.”

Both men, who belong to Norwich Canoe Club as well as representing GB Canoeing, are hoping to compete at three national competitions in the Czech Republic, Germany and Spain this year.

Last year Mr Pendle placed in the top 10 doubles in a national competition in Portugal, one of around 15 times he has competed nationally, while Mr Bradshaw has competed seven times.

Mr Pendle, who works in Dereham as a bricklayer but lives in Norwich, added: “It's a long shot but we're definitely hoping to get to the Olympics, if not we'll go for 2016. It's not just about getting in a boat and paddling down the river, it's all about technique.”

The Gifted and Talented scheme is aimed at helping the areas most promising athletes excel in their field, with free gym services and personal training at Parkwood Leisure gyms and pools in Dereham, Thetford, Swaffham and Attleborough.

So far there are just two people on the scheme, but there are more places open to athletes living in the Breckland area of county standard who are 14 years and over, with application forms available from Dereham Leisure Centre.

Gym manager Mathew Casson said: “This is for people who have shown a huge potential in sport. Tim and Ben are both very good at what they do and free use of our facilitates helps them gain control for what they're doing.”

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