Nino Severino: Pipers Vale are producing Olympic champions of the future

Grace Wardley is one of the best young gymnasts at Pipers Vale in Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Grace Wardley is one of the best young gymnasts at Pipers Vale in Ipswich. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

In his latest column, Nino Severino talks about his pride at helping one of Ipswich’s most prestigious sporting clubs to develop potential Olympic champions of the future.

Aniya Barrado training at Pipers Vale. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Aniya Barrado training at Pipers Vale. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

My role as the Director of The Hub, Centre of excellence in Ipswich, has become a very important part of my life, for so many different reasons.

The Hub support team is based at the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC), and its facilities in terms of meeting rooms, boardroom and presentation areas gives us outstanding scope to create innovative and exciting programmes, and offer the support that the sporting community is so willing to embrace.

15 years ago I launched Sports Performance Academy, which was the basis of the concept we are creating at The Hub – it was clear to me then that this type of support is needed amongst our sporting fraternity, athletes, coaches and parents.

Now, 15 years on, our database of athletes accessing The Hub’s support is in excess of 200, from Olympians to regional standard.

I’m so pleased we have incredible partnerships with three jewels of the Ipswich sporting crown – Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club, Ipswich School and Teamipswich Swimming, lead by Olympic Coach Dave Champion.

Between them, they have a portfolio of incredible athletes who are ranked on a national and international level. As director of The Hub, I’m very proud that we can offer our support, and be embraced as a small part of their support team.

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The Hub is offering all young aspirational athletes some very valuable support, which includes nutritional advice and mental skills training, while we are also launching our Hub Athlete Parent Support programme next week. This is proving to be very popular amongst the sporting community, with 70 places already being taken.

Athletes from Ipswich School, the swimming club and the gymnastics club have attended the state-of-the-art sports science laboratory at The University of Suffolk as part of their support programme.

Supporting aspirational athletes is a seven-day-a-week business and last week proved no different, with a visit from the top gymnasts from Pipers Vale Gymnastics Club. It was jaw-dropping to see what these young athletes are capable of, physically and mentally.

Nino Severino with some of his Team Hub members, plus Pipers Vale gymnasts and coaches. Picture: NIN

Nino Severino with some of his Team Hub members, plus Pipers Vale gymnasts and coaches. Picture: NINO SEVERINO - Credit: Archant

They are all involved in a maturation programme, this keeps a very close eye on the rate of growth of the athlete’s body, and this is a very important aspect of a young developing athlete’s programme – it’s vital for the technical coaches to know when their gymnasts are going through a growth spurt.

They were all tested on the Force Plate as well, this gives very detailed data regarding the force that these young athletes can produce through their lower bodies, an aspect that is absolutely critical in the world of gymnastics. Ongoing monitoring enables us to inform the coaching team of progression, or indeed regression.

Working with this calibre of athletes is hugely exciting for Team Hub – 2018 was a great year for Pipers Vale, with champions at club, county and regional levels as well as national champions, Great Britain squad members and international call ups.

2019 has also started on a high too. In January, Pipers Vale welcomed the news that three of their development gymnasts – Grace Wardley, Ellie Cornforth and Aaliyah Manning – had been selected for the Great Britain Home Nations squad as well as a further gymnast, Aniya Barrado, being selected for the Great Britain Performance Pathway.

Their boys’ squad has gone from strength to strength too – this year they have four members in the England squad in Rishad Al-amin, Luca Hammond, Charlie Harvey-Lloyd and Daniel Leighton-Scott.

Cameron Lister maintained his place in the Scottish junior squad, while Adam Steele continues his journey with Ireland, maintaining his place in the Irish senior squad and Dominic Bigbsy has been selected for the senior New Zealand squad for the first time this year.

Cameron was crowned all round Scottish junior champion in February this year and will continue to compete for Scotland at the Home Nations Tournament in April.

Adam will also compete internationally at the World Cup representing Ireland and he is a hopeful for the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Olympics. Dominic, meanwhile, has been selected to compete for New Zealand at the 2019 World Cup events in Baku and Doha, while Charlie will also compete in his first international for England at the Home Nationals Tournament in April

Pipers Vale also had 12 gymnasts competing in the 2019 English Championships recently, with highlights including Brodie Davis coming away with a bronze medal on high bar and Dominic being awarded the bronze medal on vault.

This weekend welcomes the British Gymnastics Championships, the most prestigious event in the competition calendar, and Pipers Vale have 11 gymnasts competing.

It’s hard for me to express the pride I feel as I am writing about the club, their gymnasts and the technical coaches.

Pipers Vale have chosen The Hub to support their club – it’s an honour and a privilege for me personally, and all on the team, and an incredible opportunity for us to play a small part in helping to hopefully develop a future Olympic champion from Ipswich!