World under-23 silver medallist Annie Last led a cross-country masterclass to aspiring champions ahead of the Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Sheffield later this year.
Last, who recorded a career-best 14th at the Dalby Forest leg of the World Cup, guided the group on the course at Wharncliffe and Wheata woods, near Sheffield, the venue for the UK School Games mountain bike event.
And Last passed on some of the tricks of the trade that led her to the national title in 2010.
“Giving young people the chance to compete in a multi-sport event like the Sainsbury’s UK School Games gives them a real head start in knowing what it’s like to compete at the very highest level,” said Last.
“I hope that by passing on my advice to these youngsters they can work and train hard, perfect their technique and go on to future success in the sport.”
The UK School Games, which will take place between September 1-4, will see more than 1,600 young athletes complete across 12 sports, including disability events in four sports.
The event is delivered by the Youth Sport Trust and has been funded since 2008 with a £6 million grant from Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
British Cycling’s Gary Coltman added: “This is the third year British Cycling has been involved in the Sainsbury’s UK School Games.
“From the opening and closing ceremonies, to the athletes’ village, the whole experience gives a real insight for the young competitors about all aspects of taking part in a major multi-sport event.”
Through £750,000 of additional National Lottery funding, provided this year by Sport England, two new sports – wheelchair basketball and women’s rugby sevens – will be included in the 2011 UK School Games.
The programme now includes cycling (mountain biking), athletics, badminton, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, judo, swimming, table tennis and volleyball with disability events in swimming, athletics and table tennis.
“Sainsbury’s is proud to be sponsoring the UK School Games for a second year running,” said Sainsbury’s active kids sponsorship manager Carly Munday.
“This is a great opportunity for us to further embed Active Kids in schools and show our commitment to promoting a healthier, active lifestyle for young people of all ages and abilities.”