A former Olympic swimmer from Cardiff has delivered a special training session to budding young sports and fitness instructors in South Wales while paying a visit to the recently-opened MPCT Sports Academy in Tonyrefail.
Thomas Haffield, who represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games and Wales in the Commonwealth Games, met around 25 learners from the new Academy aged 16-19 to give inspirational advice about the hard work and dedication required to reach the top and become an Olympian.
The successful athlete, who was born in Neath and trained at The City of Cardiff Swimming Club, took part in a dedicated Q&A session and offered first-hand practical guidance by delivering a group swimming training session exclusively for the teenagers. Thomas talked the youngsters through all four strokes and covered off a number of training drills.
Thomas, in his capacity as a Sky Sports Living for Sport Athlete Mentor, also offered some key advice to the teen fitness enthusiasts about the opportunities on offer at the free-to-attend Academy:
“You have an amazing opportunity here at the Sports Academy, so don’t waste it. I’ve been really lucky to travel the world and meet some amazing people, but success takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Throughout my career there have been plenty of early wake up calls to get into the pool, but never say that you can’t do it. You have all proved in today’s training session that you really can."
The new MPCT Sports Academy opened its doors in South Wales in October 2015. It is run by MPCT, a training organisation that looks to inspire young people and help them to achieve their full potential in life.
Based at Tonyrefail Leisure Centre in Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taf, the Academy aims to give local teenagers the chance to gain the qualifications and skills needed for rewarding careers in the sports and active leisure industry. It is run by a passionate team of trained sports and fitness experts.
Young men and women at the new Academy are encouraged, through the means of regular coaching and instructing, to develop the knowledge to deliver sport and fitness sessions in their community. The Academy encourages learners to sample a wide range of sports and leisure activities, enabling them to learn about the technologies and methodologies along the way.
The overall focus of the Academy is to help springboard the teenagers into employment within the industry. Courses are free thanks to educational funding from the Welsh Government.
"This training session was a a rare and rewarding opportunity for our young learners to be inspired by Thomas' success," states Ryan James, Sports and Recreation Manager at MPCT. "His valuable advice is greatly appreciated, as our learners continue to build their skills to pursue their chosen career paths in the sports and leisure industry."
You can view the ITV Wales news report here