As a kid, I can remember spending a lot of time in Live Active Leisure’s facilities. Whether it was learning to swim at Perth Leisure Pool – which I could actually do before I could even walk – or playing football, tennis and badminton at Bell’s Sports Centre, as a sporty child it was great for me.
I’m sure there are thousands like me who use or have used the Live Active facilities across Perthshire but what you maybe didn’t know is that they’ve actually played a big part in the success of some of our region’s top athletes.
That’s all thanks to Live Active’s ‘Talented Athlete’ scheme. It has helped the likes of curler Eve Muirhead – Winter Olympic bronze medallist – and Stephen Milne, silver medallist at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and member of the Team GB swim team. Both were members of the scheme alongside the rest of Perthshire’s elite athletes, and both have benefitted from Live Active’s facilities.
It was set up to help the crème de la crème of Perth’s athletes and give them the best opportunity to get as far in their chosen sport as possible. Becoming part of the Live Active ‘Talented Athlete’ scheme entitles the member to free and unlimited use of all of the facilities throughout Perthshire. So, whether it’s Eve getting some extra training in at Live Active Atholl’s gym or Stephen putting in additional lengths at Perth Leisure Pool, it’s all free and there for them to use and benefit from.
Another benefit of the scheme is the physical preparation squads. These squads are for Talented Athletes to improve their strength and conditioning to enable them to manage the physical demands of their sport. The squads run twice a week and this training helps to reduce the risk of injury by developing good posture, movement, balance and coordination. It also develops the athlete’s flexibility, strength, power and speed – all of which result in enhancing performance within their sport.
This additional strength and conditioning training is run at Bell’s Sports Centre’s gym and is overseen by an experienced coach to make sure the athletes get the best possible training. It’s another benefit of the scheme which has also played a part in the careers of Paralympic athlete, Joshua Rowe and Senior Alpine Ski Team member, Charlie Guest.
In order to qualify for the scheme, there are certain criteria that must be met. The athlete must either be a Perth and Kinross resident, or compete for a local sports club. It’s been great to gain free access to swimming pools and gyms in Perth and Kinross. They must represent their sport to a national level or higher, and it must be a sport that has a governing body recognised by sportscotland.
It’s also not limited to youngsters either. Although the likes of Eve Muirhead became part of the scheme by the age of fifteen, the scheme has also helped 45-year-old Robert Harrison, who competes in triathlons both nationally and on the continent too. The school teacher from Blairgowrie is grateful to Live Active for their continued support.
“It’s been great to gain free access to swimming pools and gyms in Perth and Kinross. I use the pools in Blairgowrie and Perth, as well as the fitness room at Blairgowrie Recreational Centre. Having access to training on a good quality treadmill is really beneficial.”
So, hats off to Live Active Leisure for helping our local athletes realise their potential. Here’s to more elite Perthshire athletes coming through to the top of their sport in the future and continuing to do our city proud!
You can read our full article on Blairgowrie triathlete, Robert Harrison, this weekend!
To find out more about the Live Active ‘Talented Athlete’ scheme, or to submit an application to become part of the scheme, visit the Live Active website.
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