Aspiring international archer Jacob Boden has been given a taste of what to expect if or when sporting stardom comes his way.
He was one of dozens of SportsAid athletes who attended workshops at Nottingham Racecourse, offering media training, nutrition advice, performance lifestyle guidance and support for parents.
World champion speed skater Elise Christie was special guest at the event, organised by Sports Aid and the Backing The Best programme which is supporting Boden’s shot at joining archery’s elite.
However, the Sleaford teenager’s journey to the top of his sport has been far from straightforward.
He first took up a bow with Friskney Bowmen at a county fair, tried it again at Center Parcs on a family holiday, and now competes all over the world for Great Britain.
It hasn’t been plain sailing for the recurve specialist, a student at University Technical College, who suffered a serious car accident while training for status as a Junior Master Bowman.
“I’ve had quite a few injuries,” he said. “At one point I was having one every year, a back injury, trapped nerve in shoulder.
“I’ve worked quite a lot with the physios! I can learn from what’s happened and in a way I’ve become stronger as a person and as an athlete.
“You need to patient, at the end of the day. I thought I wasn’t good enough and wanted to stop, but kept going so it’s good to look back on that as adversity I’ve conquered too.”
SportsAid and the Backing The Best programme offers financial help to talented young athletes who would otherwise face difficulties progressing.
Backed by £5.5 million of National Lottery funding, Backing The Best presents annual awards of £5,000 per athlete to help with essential costs such as travel, accommodation, kit, nutrition and medical bills.
Boden added: “I tried archery at a fair, found a club, got the taste for it and just kept training, basically, and kept working.
“It’s quite surreal to go from that right up to shooting at GB level in a performance environment.
“I’m proud and happy with how everything’s gone. I don’t think I originally thought I could do what I’ve done. I’m quite pleased with it all.”
* Backing The Best is helping talented young athletes facing the greatest financial pressure to pursue their sporting ambitions. The programme, managed by SportsAid for Sport England, is supported by National Lottery funding. Visit www.sportengland.org/our–work/talent/backing–the–best/ to find out more.