Game-changing appointments

IMPROVING Guernsey’s already impressive presence on the international cycling map would be just one benefit from appointing the sport’s first full-time local development officer.

Velo Club president Mark Smith sees huge potential in the new appointment. (29659901)
Velo Club president Mark Smith sees huge potential in the new appointment. (29659901)

Velo Club president Mark Smith is rather excited at the imminent move, which comes after the Guernsey Sports Commission received funding to recruit two new development officers – one for cycling, one for netball.

The Velo Club have enjoyed strong international-level representation in recent years, together with healthy participation, including resoundingly high turnouts at their Wednesday night Flyers and recent Youth Games.

And cycling stalwart Smith can only see this improving with a new full-time development officer in post.

‘Having someone in a role that historically volunteers have taken up will mean the person will have more time and more focus, rather than just trying to manage it into their day,’ he said.

‘We are working on a development plan that will support riders across the age groups – it’s someone that will deliver them that plan, take some load off the volunteers.’

Included in the current committee is internal development officer Adie Tourtel, whose work has been praised as ‘fantastic’ by Smith.

Smith hopes the new officer would work alongside the internal post and address focal areas such as promoting cycling in schools, finding racing opportunities for veterans – a big proportion of members are over 40 – and getting more women competing.

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Performance-wise, with several outstanding individuals like Trinity Racing professional Sam Culverwell, plus frequent Island and Commonwealth Games representation, Smith sees plenty of success to build on.

‘If we can continue to develop cyclists and really put Guernsey on the map, the Guernsey team could be one that leaves people quaking in their boots,’ he said.

The employment of a netball development officer forms part of the Sports Commission’s drive to bring the sport forward into a new era.

The Guernsey Netball Association’s partnership director, Darren Duquemin, called the proposition a ‘game-changer’.

‘We are excited to see who is out there and would relish the challenge of being Guernsey Netball’s first development officer,’ he said.

‘They will be able to make, with our support, a big positive impact and should get a big buzz from doing that.’

The Sports Commission are looking for applicants with UKCC Level Two coaching qualification, though they are happy to consider those who would work towards achieving one.

‘Our main requirement is for someone with a real desire to see their sport grow, to develop opportunities for participation and to work with all sections of our community with the aim of inspiring all generations to get active for life,’ relationship manager Steve Sharman said.

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