Nino Severino: It's fantastic to welcome Ipswich School to our sporting Hub
In his latest column, Nino Severino welcomes a Suffolk school into his team at the University of Suffolk sporting Hub.
I very regularly get asked by readers whether it’s difficult to write a full-page column every week? And the answer is no, as we have so much to celebrate in terms of our region’s sporting success!
This week is no different, as my highlight was meeting a group of young aspiring champions performing up to international level from Ipswich School.
As the Director of the Hub at the University of Suffolk, my relentless focus is to build a portfolio of individuals, clubs, academies, governing bodies and national teams who all see our Centre of Excellence as the go-to place for world class sports science and sports performance programme support.
I’m very pleased that, after five in-depth meetings with Ben Edmondson, Director of Sport at Ipswich School, the Hub can now add this prestigious client to our list.
I am presenting a coach education session at Ipswich Town Football Club Academy about sporting “hotbeds of talent” and Ipswich School have proved themselves among those who deserve this very prestigious title.
When you read through the list of athletes who have been produced there, it’s very easy to see why I would include them on this list.
As I read down the list of sporting champions from the school, two names immediately jumped out at me – Harry Martin and George Pinner.
Both are Olympians, Harry earning his place in the Great Britain Squad for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and George as part of the 2016 Great Britain team.
Both of them were in the squads that achieved medals at both European Championships and Commonwealth Games, and these two great champions are clearly representative of the calibre of the sporting programme at Ipswich School.
Indeed, you can add two more hockey players to the school’s production line, with Hannah Martin and James Gall appearing alongside George and Harry in this year’s Commonwealth Games.
It’s very clear to me that Ben has set the aspirations for sport at the school at the highest level possible, and believes the talented team of professionals at the Hub will play a part in this process.
Creating champions is not an easy business, while creating Olympians – from one school – is an exceptional achievement, and a reflection of the programme quality each student benefits from at Ipswich School.
The school is a centuries old seat of learning, and each time I visit it’s easy to feel the history that it has built its reputation on.
It’s fair to say they can boast one of the most famous students in our region, Thomas Wolsey who was King Henry VIII’s most trusted and powerful advisor, holding the title of Lord Chancellor.
He was a student at Ipswich School in the 14th century. I’m sure many of you would have enjoyed the series “The Tudors” which included the extraordinary life this great historical figure experienced by the side of probably the most famous king in world history.
The main school, located on Henley Road, is supported by numerous other connected sites, including the Ipswich School Sports Centre in Rushmere.
This site is open to all in the community, and its no surprise that it offers world class hockey facilities on site, as well as many other fitness and sporting opportunities.
I have personally coached at the site on many occasions, and I thought it was very fitting that an Ipswich Town legend, Roger Osborne is the centre manager.
The walls proudly display many images of the school’s sporting achievements, and amongst these images you will find a black and white framed image of Osborne celebrating the goal he scored at Wembley, when the great Blues team at the time lifted the FA Cup back in 1978.
The students who attend the school are transported by bus to the Rushmere site for training sessions; it will also play a part in some of the support the Hub team will offer.
Ben said: “The link to the Hub at the University of Suffolk is something we are very proud of. To be the first school in Suffolk to form this bond with our hometown university and to avail ourselves of the outstanding facilities and athletic development knowledge on offer from the professionals based there really will put our elite athletes to the forefront of their personal development.”
There are so many exciting areas of sport development to look forward to, and our working relationship with Ben and his athletes, is without doubt one I am relishing!