Croydon netballer chosen for national talent camp
A CROYDON netballer is hoping to grow in confidence as she prepares to embark on a four-day training camp in the new year.
Seventeen-year-old Alima Priest, who currently plays netball for the Surrey Storm in the National Netball Talent League, has been selected to attend the Youth Sport Trust's National Talent Camp at Loughborough University in January.
The England U19 star, who was born and bred in Croydon, will join around 90 other aspiring young athletes in learning what it takes to become an elite level sports star, with the Coloma Convent Girls School pupil admitting she can't wait for it to start.
"I have never done anything like this before," said the teenager, who has also played for Howard & Shirley Netball Club in Croydon.
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"But I think it will be a great experience meeting other people from other sports. Hopefully it will help to improve us as sportsmen and women and I am looking forward to it.
"I want to grow in confidence and face new challenges and this will definitely help to push me in that respect."
Priest added that the camp would be good for her in other ways too, adding that she hoped to learn more about how young athletes juggle their time between competing, studying and enjoying an active social life.
"I think you have to get a good balance of all three," she said.
The camp is quite intense though, with 6am starts, two training sessions a day and a series of challenging workshops led by leading sports psychologists and athlete mentors.
The youngsters will also hear from guest speakers such as Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree from the England RFU coaching team, along with mountaineer Bonita Norris – the youngest British woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
In addition, Youth Sport Trust ambassador Darren Campbell, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay in Athens in 2004 and silver in Sydney in the 200m, will also talk about the pressures of being an elite athlete.
But Priest, who harbours hopes of breaking into England's senior set-up, is looking forward to the camp, which has previously played host to Olympic gold medallist rower Katherine Copeland.
She says she hopes it will help her as she builds up to the U19 European Championships in February.
The camp begins on January 3.