Aspiring Richmond hockey star Holly Munro is making the most of being included on a prestigious sponsorship scheme as she targets the England youth captaincy at this summer’s European Championships.
The 17-year-old is one of 100 athletes on the 2016 SSE Next Generation programme, a scheme that identifies potential Olympic and Paralympic medallists of the future, providing them with financial help and mentoring from elite athletes like double-Paralympic silver medallist Libby Clegg and record-breaking endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont.
Recently she attended a workshop at The SSE Arena, Wembley, where she received support on a number of issues, including media training, sports nutrition and lifestyle management, and said it had been an experience to savour.
“It is a massive honour to be part of the scheme,” said the Surbiton HC player.
“It has been great and the media coverage has been really good to boost my profile as an athlete.
“I love cooking so the nutrition session was great, it’s good to learn new things, new recipes, new ways to fuel my body in a really nutritional way that will help me perform to my best.
“I had heard some of the information from the workshops before but it’s really good to hear from experts, professionals in their field, explaining to us why we need to do it, not just what we need to do.
“For instance understanding the implications of the way we fuel ourselves and how that will affect the way we perform.”
Clegg has long been an SSE ambassador and was involved in an athlete question and answer session at the workshop, as well as a one-to-one mentoring programme with the young athletes in attendance.
Reflecting on the day, the visually-impaired sprinter admitted to being jealous of the assistance offered to Munro and her peers.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting the athletes over the years and I want to continue to get involved, inspire kids and pass on any advice I can,” said the 26-year-old.
“When I was growing up I never had any mentoring, any schemes or workshops that I could attend, so this is absolutely amazing.
“I wish I would’ve had something like this when I was younger, it would’ve made a world of difference.
“When you’re younger you sometimes think things are a lot bigger deal than they actually are, so it’s quite nice to talk to somebody that has already experienced those things, to pass on that knowledge and tell you the mistakes they made in the past.
“It’s great for the parents too, to be able to pick the brains of former athletes, ones that are there at a high level still – it’s a fantastic opportunity for them.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen.