Training for Sporting Triumph

Talented youngsters who decide to take up competitive sport must also be prepared to take on a heavy burden of stress. This item shows the daily life of two young promising athletes who have spent the last 3 months in a Sports Academy in Cologne and are working hard for their future careers.

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High sporting performance and new records continue to fascinate both sport activists and the general public.

Talented athletes are heavily promoted in Germany to help them reach the high standards of performance needed for national and international competitions. Every fifth athlete in competitive sport comes from the German state of North Rhine Westphalia. Three Olympic support groups and 34 Federal German support groups devise the programmes for training the rising generation of top athletes. They are helped by another 339 support groups throughout the country. Altogether more than 4,000 young athletes and sports activists are being trained in this system.

In the first and second Divisions of the German Football Bundesliga as well as in other sports such as Ice Hockey and Swimming, North Rhine Westphalia has the strongest representation.

One way in which continuous help and training for top sport performance can be offered to young athletes is by Sports Academies. Here the athletes get an academic as well as a sporting education. In the summer of 2003, 17 young athletes were in residence at the Sports Academy in the North Rhine Westphalian city of Cologne. They had been chosen by selection panels in the various German states. They were aged between 13 and 18 and active in the Olympic sports categories of Football, Ice Hockey, Judo, Gymnastics, Swimming and Baseball.

The patrons for the academy are the local footballs team, FC Köln, the local ice hockey team, Kölner Haie, and the area Olympic Support Unit. The rest of the costs is made up by the athletes parents. For 500 Euro each per month 12 boys and 5 girls are tended around the clock by 3 expert sports teachers, they get full board and lodging and the pleasure of a chauffeur service so that they don’t miss any training sessions or school work. As well as normal school studies the athletes are provided with additional coaching from their teachers.

By arrangement with schools in the region the young athletes can be freed from studies for competition and training. The optimal promotion of promising young athletes lies in a combination of challenge and chance. In order to secure the continuation of training in the future parents must be able to put all of their trust in those who have the responsibility of training these young people.

Their health, as well as their sporting ability is also constantly checked by specially trained medical personnel. Only in this way can future problems arising from sporting or training activities be ruled out.
Goethe-Institut e. V. 2004
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