Nino Severino column: A chance to work with Abbie Thorrington again is so exciting

Abbie Thorrington at the Ipswich Academy Photos: Pavel Kricka

Abbie Thorrington at the Ipswich Academy Photos: Pavel Kricka - Credit: Archant

Life has a funny way of bringing people together, then separating them, and once again bringing their life paths back together again, that’s exactly what has happened to me, and a very special woman called Abbie Thorrington.

Abbie Thorrington in action Photo: Contributed

Abbie Thorrington in action Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

When I look back on my coaching career, working with Abbie, an official EIS world class triathlete, was a massive highlight.

For any coach, it’s a dream working with any athlete at this level, because, for many reasons, they are a very, special breed!

I’ve asked for many references in my time from athletes I have worked with, but without doubt, Abbie’s is one of the most valuable I possess.

She said in hers: “Before meeting Nino I was unsure whether my childhood dream of becoming an Olympic athlete would progress into adulthood.

“However, if I am completely honest working with Nino over the course of around three years helped me massively.

“Not only did he work on the physical aspects of training to get me fitter, but also nutritional factors which are very important. However, the greatest influence Nino had was to give me confidence in myself and my own ability.

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“Still to this day I am unsure how he did this, but I feel that if my parents would not have funded me to work with Nino my sporting aspirations could have turned out very differently. As for today I am currently training and am funded by UK Sport as a full-time triathlete at the National High-Performance Centre for triathlon in Loughborough.

“Since working with Nino I went on and continue to be a regular GB international athlete, competing on a European and World stage. My ultimate aim is to achieve Olympic selection and become an Olympic Champion.”

Some professionals work towards qualifications, for me as an elite coach, I work very hard to be part of athletes training and competitive lives and earn their respect and the massively valued words they will kindly say about the time they were coached and supported by me.

Through my work now based in Ipswich, once again, I will have the opportunity to work with Abbie through her senior management position at the Ipswich Academy.

Abbie’s sporting life started as a young school pupil, juggling academics and training twice per day, six days per week, supported by her very committed parents, who I knew very well.

I often talk about how important parental support is to aspiring children in sport,

Abbie said of her parents; “I have had incredible parental support throughout my sporting life.”

This devoted parental support ensured that Abbie’s sporting life carried on through to university where her training hours increased significantly to around 25 hours per week!

Abbie then turned professional after graduating from university, her childhood dream, to swim, cycle and run as a job and earn the right to get paid for it was now a reality and she was based at the high-performance centre in Loughborough between events and training camps.

Abbie then begun travelling the world as a professional triathlete, she competed in multiple world and European Championships, all of which peeked in London 2012, after which she retired from professional full-time sport.

And so, begun her life trajectory that would once again see us working together!

Hard work, tears and a can-do attitude drove Abbie to achieve a Masters in sports science and led her to the job she now has at the Ipswich Academy. During our meeting this week, Abbie said; “I love what I do today, giving every child every opportunity to achieve, anything is possible if you want it to happen.”

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It’s this very important job she is doing on a day to day basis that has once again given us the opportunity of working together, exploring a very exciting project that will hopefully see many pupils benefiting from the very exciting world of sport and the amazing arena of sports science.

Abbie Joined Ipswich Academy in September 2014 as a newly-qualified teacher, as we talked about her very exciting role at the academy, Abbie said: “I was brought up in Ipswich, and I am proud to call it my community, a community that I am passionate about, and now I work hard to drive forwards the educational outcome of many children who live in Ipswich.”

I spent the whole day with Abbie at the Ipswich Academy, based in Nacton and run by the Paradigm Trust.

During our meeting Abbie passionately talked about her mentor, the late Amanda Phillips, saying, “Amanda was an incredible lady, someone who gave me opportunities and self- belief to ‘climb the teaching ladder.”

Under Amanda’s guidance, Abbie was promoted to head of year within six months of teaching.

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She now works as part of Helen Winn’s very talented teaching team, who all work extremely hard to improve the educational outcomes for Ipswich-based children, Abbie proudly tells me: “These students are a very important part of my life and my community, and I love what I am doing today.”

Abbie is part of a great club, which includes other athletes, who left Ipswich to perform on the world’s sporting stage, and then after retirement decided to bring their achievements and experiences back to our home town, others such as Jason Dozzell, Kieron Dyer and Titus Bramble, all of whom I work with as part of the ITFC coaching team.

Ipswich has so much to offer young pupils, Abbie and these football legends, all now play a part in many young athlete’s futures. I often talk about how important sport can be in a child’s life, and I am very focused on making sure that my time now based in Ipswich will give me the opportunity to work with incredible professionals like Abbie, to ensure sport effects as many Ipswich-based children as possible.