Powell happy with High Performance programme progress going into 2020
With six months to go until England welcomes the rest of Europe to Nottingham for the biggest ever European Touch Championships, England Touch High Performance Director Ben Powell says that he has been pleased by the first phase of preparations.
Over 300 athletes were initially selected for the pre-Christmas training camps, a number reduced before the squads reconvene in West London in early February.
While England did not win every category in 2018, the four golds, three silvers and one bronze were enough for the host nation to win the Opens, Seniors and Masters divisions as well as the overall title as champion nation.
This was followed up by a third-place finish in the 2019 World Cup in Malaysia, and even though there has been a 35-40 percent turnover in athletes – not including those players who have moved from one division or squad to another – Powell says that the first camps have shown plenty of promise.
“We’re happy with the progress of the athletes and coaches and cracking on in 2020,” he says. “We start with wanting to maintain our status as European champions across all divisions and are going in to win 11 gold medals and that’s our priority.
“The second part is also working towards the 2023 World Cup in the first part of the new cycle. We had a large turnover of athletes after the 2019 World Cup so have lots of new athletes involved, so a big part of our focus is on the stepping stones involved in helping us to be knocking on the door come the next World Cup.”
England has been developing its approach to its High Performance programme over the past two years and is now using the same best practices seen in full-time professional sports to achieve success within the England Touch amateur set-up.
“We’re keen to make sure we’re building a strong culture within One England,” he adds. “We’re working with each squad, each coach and each athlete to make sure that we’re moving in the right direction towards the Euros and ultimately the World Cup.
“On a bespoke basis we’re wanting to develop each coach and each athlete in an individual way. It’s been a busy start to the campaign and an ambitious one, but already we feel we’re making big strides.”
The 2020 European Touch Championships will be held at the University of Nottingham’s Highfields Sports Centre between Tuesday, July 28th and Saturday, August 1st. More than 3,500 athletes and coaches will be representing 23 nations and over 70 teams in 11 categories, a substantial increase from 2018.
A range of sponsorship and partnership opportunities are also available for both the Euros as a tournament and England’s own teams. To find out more email Chris Simon via email@example.com