Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Swimmer Abbie Wood set for training camp in the USA

Derbyshire Institute of Sport swimmer Abbie Wood’s long-term goal of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been given a double boost.

The 17-year-old from Buxton has been named among a 16-strong squad who have flown out to Arizona in the USA for a three-week training camp at altitude.

And the former Derventio eXcel swimmer, now representing the National Centre in Loughborough, has also been called up for her second senior international selection.

She will represent Great Britain at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada between December 6 and 11, where she will swim the 400m individual medley and 400m freestyle.

In the States, Abbie, on Derbyshire’s ICON bursary programme for 2016-17, will be part of a programme designed to take the performance of Great Britain athletes to ‘new heights’ in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The trip to the Hypo2 High Performance Sport Centre in Flagstaff is the first in a series of 10 national camps between now and the Tokyo Games targeting 200 metre-plus swimmers of the right age and performance profile to be able to excel in four years’ time.

“We believe there are some significant gains for a group of swimmers that we need to explore further and ultimately perfect ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said Chris Spice, British Swimming’s National Performance Director.

“British Swimming will implement a testing programme prior to, during and post each altitude exposure to ensure we’re maximizing the positive effects such training can have on an athlete.”

“Flagstaff is just the first in the 10-camp altitude programme. We will be holding two a year in October and then either January or February, for three weeks at a time.”

Abbie was supported by the DIS to secure overnight accommodation to the British Summer National Championships, where she took gold in the 400m individual medley for 17-18 year-olds.

She has previously been helped with specialist coaching and strength and conditioning support – which helped her win a European Games gold medal in 2015 – before her move to join a world class training programme in Loughborough.

The call-up for Abbie follows good news last week for fellow DIS swimmer Imogen Clark, who has been selected to swim in a British squad in Ontario, Canada.

Derbyshire Institute of Sport

Grace King set for World Under-19 Junior Badminton Championships

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) badminton player Grace King flies out to Spain this weekend to take part in the World Under-19 Junior Championships knowing her England team will face a tough task against the sport’s Asian powerhouses.

The 16-year-old from Quarndon has done superbly well to qualify two years early for the team – made up of five girls and five boys.
She will go up against athletes already playing full-time, which DIS badminton coach James Boxall believes will make the standard very high in Bilbao.

“Some of the Asia players have been playing full-time since they were nine years old, meaning that at 18 or 19 they are already close to their peak,” he said.

“The European players on the hand will not peak until they are a little bit older and have been playing full-time themselves, which makes it a tough competition for them at this stage.

“But Grace has shone just to make the team as an under-17, and it should be a great learning experience for her.”

Lewis White claims bronze in 400m S9 in Rio

Lewis White became the first member of the Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) programme to win a Paralympic medal after swimming to 400m S9 bronze in Rio.

The 16-year-old from Swadlincote, who collected his GSCE results at Pingle School this summer, finished third behind Australian World record holder Brenden Hall and Italy’s Federico Morlacchi.

The City of Derby swimmer touched home in four minutes 21.38 seconds to make worthwhile all the early mornings training alongside Olympic champion Adam Peaty under the guidance of coach Mel Marshall.

The teenager, also supported by the ICON bursary programme, described his success on Twitter as ‘unexpected’ and had begun the year with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics as a target.

But after qualifying at the Para-Swimming International Meet in April, which doubled as the British Paralympic Trials, Lewis has trained extremely hard around his studies to realise his dream four years earlier.

Proud mum Jo Smith said: “I’m just stunned really, overwhelmed with the support and messages and very emotional and teary.

“It was completely unexpected, so will obviously take some time to sink in, but he totally deserves it, as he works so, so hard.”

Lewis has been helped by the DIS through strength and conditioning and physio, which has helped him improve his core strength and assists in the prevention of injury.

Like other athletes on the programme, Lewis also has access to expert coaching and nutritional and lifestyle advice.

The South Derbyshire swimmer has more chances to go for goal later in other disciplines, including the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke.

He may also be included in the team to compete in the 4x100m freestyle 34 points relay.

Liam Pitchford helps Great Britain to victory over France at Rio Olympic Games

A spectacular fightback from Derbyshire Institute of Sport’s (DIS) Liam Pitchford helped Great Britain to a dramatic team victory over France at the Rio Olympic Games.

The Chesterfield player saved a match point in the vital fourth match before going on to beat Tristan Flore 3-2.

That proved vital as, with tension mounting, Worksop’s Sam Walker saved three more match points to beat world number 17 Simon Gauzy in the deciding rubber.

It enabled the Brits to battle back from 2-1 down in terms of matches to win 3-2 and set up a quarter-final tie with reigning Olympic champions China.

Every match went the distance in an incredible tie that lasted more than four hours.

Liam was up first in the singles, facing Gauzy and twice fought back from games down to level at 2-2.

However, he was unable to keep his momentum going down in the deciding game 11-5.

Paul Drinkhall, who reached the last 16 of the singles tournament levelled the overall tie in the next match, beating Emmanuel Lebesson 3-2, but GB were up against it again when Drinkhall and Walker lost the doubles to Lebesson and Flore 3-2 after leading 2-0.

Step forward Liam, who fought tooth and nail with Flore to run out a 3-2 victor, winning 11-9 in the decider after trailing 2-0 in games and then 10-9 in the fourth game.

That left Walker to face Gauzy to decide who would advance to the last 16 and the British player kept his cool to claim a 7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10 success.

The DIS offers talented athletes in the county extensive support through a variety of means, including financial support, expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional advice.

Liam Pitchford qualifies for the Rio Olympics

Derbyshire Institute of Sport (DIS) Gold Programme table tennis Liam Pitchford says he is delighted to have qualified for the Rio Olympics.

The British number one, from Brimington, played at the London 2012 Games, where the host nation were handed qualification places.

But the 22-year-old has earned his own spot in Brazil courtesy of his world ranking of 51, where he will be joined by fellow Englishman Paul Drinkhall (ranked 60).

“After London, experiencing that Olympics, I told myself when Rio came around I wanted to be qualifying in my own right, which didn’t happen in London,” he said.

“Now I can go out there and tell myself I deserve to be there and to finally make it is absolutely amazing.”

Liam is expecting a different vibe in South America to his first Olympic experience on home soil and added: “In London it was absolutely incredible, everyone got behind it, there was a buzz around the whole country.

“It’s probably not going to be as big but I think it will be special in its own way. It will be different to being at home with the whole crowd on your side, but it will be fun and I’m ready to get out there and start competing.”

A sense of belonging at Rio means a lot to Liam, who came through the ranks with the Staveley-based Colin Deaton Table Tennis Academy as a youngster and now plays for German club TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen.

Having won two silver medals and an individual bronze for England at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – and since reached a career-high 39 in the world rankings – the 2014 Derbyshire Sports Awards finalist feels ready for the challenge.

“Qualifying as a host nation, I was thinking ‘do I deserve to be here’ and it was my first Olympics, but now I’ve been to one before, I’m going to go out there and give it my best shot,” he said.

“Anything past the quarter finals would be absolutely out of this world, but nothing is impossible, anything can happen.

“The DIS has played a big part in this season and helping me qualify for Rio and I’m really grateful for all the support I’ve been given. Hopefully I can go out there and do everyone proud.”

Molly Renshaw finishes sixth in Rio Olympics 200m breastroke final

Derbyshire Insititute of Sport (DIS)-backed athlete Molly Renshaw produced an excellent swim to finish sixth in the Olympic 200m breastroke final in Rio.

The 20-year-old former Ripley Rascals and Derventio eXcel swimmer set a new British record of 2.22.33 to qualify for the final third fastest.

She was unable to quite match that time, clocking 2.22.72, but it was nevertheless a superb result in her first Olympic Games.

“My aim coming into this was to make the final and I’ve enjoyed very minute of it,” she said.

Fellow Briton Chloe Tutton suffered the agony of finishing in fourth place, just 0.06 seconds off a bronze medal.