Nino Severino: How an Ipswich-based team is helping athletes right across the world
- Credit: Archant
In his latest column, Nino Severino reflects on the incredible success of The Hub, the Ipswich-based centre of athletic excellence, as it approaches a significant anniversary.
Nearly a year ago I had the opportunity of launching The Hub. I approached this project with the belief it could truly develop into an entity and energy that could have a major effect on local athletes, and it's safe to say that my expectations have not only been realised but surpassed, as we're expanding nationally with international projects also being planned.
The Hub, based at IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre), is a centre of excellence for athletes across the UK to approach for support through sporting services, consultancies, products and programmes, and our reputation has grown to such a level that we now receive inquiries from all over the world, from not only aspirational athletes, but also global sporting companies.
When I first launched The Hub, I wanted it to be a force for good that would bring local athletes together, creating one sporting community that would include those earning multi-million-pound deals, all the way through to those who needed to pay for flights and hotels to compete for their country.
It sounds insane, but yes, this is the reality for some athletes - they are selected to represent their country in their sport of choice, but the governing bodies lack the resource to even buy the kit for these athletes, let alone pay for flights and hotels!
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I have seen through my personal experiences how much money there is in some sports, and this was particularly evident during one of my presentations, which was held at the Manchester United training ground, at Carrington.
As I walked around the building with the staff, I looked through one of the large windows to see a jaw dropping line of cars - Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, Maseratis, the list goes on.
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They were owned by some of the most famous and successful players in the world, who compete and perform at a level that earns them vast luxuries.
Unfortunately for many other athletes, though they compete at the highest level, the money is simply not on offer.
The Hub focuses on many areas and bringing the sporting community together through involving athletes from lucrative and non-lucrative sports was a vision that I had right from the beginning.
I quickly realised that this concept could, in itself, become a brand and attract interest from companies who felt a social responsibility to support me in this quest.
My first objective was to attract attention, so I turned to Ipswich Town Football Club, and Lee O'Neil, manager of Football Operations.
He invited me to a meeting in one of the boardrooms at the stadium in Portman Road where I explained what I was trying to achieve. Lee listened with genuine interest and after a long conversation extended full and unreserved support, opening up the stadium to our first Hub Sporting Community photo shoot, representing the wide and diverse range of athletes we support.
We are now arranging our second generation shoot which will involve athletes from tennis, boxing, football, squash, cricket, running and swimming, again supported by Lee and Dan Palfrey, from the media team at Town.
I am, of course very proud of all the local and regional achievements we have banked, but I am very excited about the national and international opportunities that we are creating from our head office in Ipswich.
We are now in talks with the world's leading human performance and analytics company regarding a collaboration in a very interesting field of sports programme support.
This entity supports in excess of 25,000 athletes from 40 different sports across the world and 750 global teams, including top football teams from the Premier League.
A collaboration with a company of this magnitude would earn The Hub a place on the global stage of sports performance consultancy and support.
I am now planning a visit to Montreal, one of their world wide offices, and I look forward to keeping all my readers up to date with the potential progress of this very exciting opportunity.
The Hub started in Ipswich with a unique vision, we expanded to offer national support, and the aim now is to go global. All of this because a small group of people had faith in me, The Hub, and our vision to offer all athletes - rich or poor - the support they deserve.