Sport Northern Ireland, in partnership with Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI), has developed three sporting centres for the next generation of elite athletes in Northern Ireland.
The Performer Development Centres (PDC’s) provide excellent support services to some of Northern Ireland’s aspiring sporting stars within Olympic and Commonwealth sports. Athletes will be able to access the core services of strength and conditioning and physiotherapy; in addition elements of performance planning and performance lifestyle will be integrated into the athlete’s programme.
The purpose of these centres is to refine and improve current talent development systems and structures by bridging the gap between governing body programmes and the work of SINI.
The three centres, which are situated in Belfast, Lisburn and Cookstown, are designed to offer valuable support to up and coming athletes. These centres are hosted by Lisburn City Council (at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex), Cookstown District Council (at the Mid Ulster Sports Arena) and St Mary’s University College, Belfast.
Sport NI chief executive Eamonn McCartan said: “The PDC’s are an important part of Sport Northern Ireland’s long term vision for building a performance sport system in Northern Ireland. We must offer all emerging talented athletes an opportunity to develop their talent.”
Laura Casey, who is on the junior Irish Triathlon talent squad, has been training out of the PDC in Lisburn since before Christmas.
She said: “The PDC in Lisburn has really helped my training. I am now getting valuable support from well respected strength and conditioning coaches and sports physiotherapists. I am feeling stronger and have a really good support network around me. It has also been really great meeting other athletes from different sports at the PDC’s, we all learn from each other.
“I am still at school and sometimes it can be hard to juggle training in my three disciplines (running, swimming and cycling) as well as school work, so the support from the performance lifestyle staff has been great.”
Athletes can gain entry to the PDC programme through an application to Sport NI made by their governing body.