The Jersey Sport Foundation will this week launch ‘Project Gold’ with an open evening at their headquarters in Seaton Place, as they look to build on the success of previous initiatives which have already produced national and international medallists in so-called ‘fringe’ sports.
In conjunction with Jersey Sport, JSF are on the hunt for hidden talents that could transfer to one of five sports, with the view to achieving success at a faster rate than in more popular, more competitive mainstream events.
‘We have to be honest with ourselves and objective when looking at performance,’ said JSF head of services John Scriven. ‘The likelihood of high-level achievement in traditional events is relatively low.
‘As a small Island nation we need to do things differently and be savvy with the science and research in order to enhance sport performance outcomes for Jersey.
‘Fundamentally this is about identifying areas in Jersey intelligently where we can really shine. We’re taking mainstream sports skills and putting them into fringe sports which have a much faster trajectory into élite performance.
‘In a population as small as ours, we can’t just hope that athletes will find the right sport and reply upon happy accidents. We need to be better than that.’
Project Gold will begin by identifying core skills that could forge a path to national and global success in coastal rowing, Olympic weightlifting, judo and para-powerlifting, plus eight events in track and field.
Athletics coaches are already lined up to nurture raw talent in sprint hurdles, 400m hurdles, steeplechase, pole vault, discus, hammer throw and shot putt.
Scriven, who has helped coach junior Charlotte Neale to international selection in weightlifting this year, added: ‘It’s not about flag waving and taking part, we’re trying to develop a system that makes people competitive.’
Two open evenings are due to be held in the coming weeks for current or former athletes over 14 who dream of performing on the biggest stages, starting this Thursday evening at 5.30pm. The second session is scheduled for Thursday 9 January.
Visit JSF’s Eventbrite page online or call John Scriven on 765265 for more information.