Alexander Kolesnikoff (NSW) has relished the chance to train at the Australian Institute of Sport this past weekend, with the 17-year-old one of 47 athletes to descend on Canberra (ACT) for a camp that welcomed Athletics Australia’s Under 19 Talent Squad.
Introducing young athletes to the benefits of sports psychology and nutrition and the rigours of international travel alongside training and recovery sessions at world-class facilities, the four-day in-residence camp also included a personal coach program to allow for sharing of ideas with National Junior Coaches.
“Camp in Canberra has given me a chance to meet new people, which in an individual sport is great. Plus, we’ve learned a lot about the one-percenters and that’s very important. We’ve had the chance to do some great training, I’ve learned ways to tweak my technique to improve, and the introduction we’ve had to sports psychology, nutrition and tips for travelling overseas have been great,” Kolesnikoff said.
“The AIS has been a great place to come too. Some people have been here a few times, but for me it is all new. The recovery facilities are amazing, and the fact it’s a little bit secluded is great. You can just focus. I hope I get the chance to come back for another camp in the future.”
The timing of the camp couldn’t have been better for Kolesnikoff, with the up and coming thrower last week selected to compete at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau (BAH) in July.
He aspires for a medal, and together with his coaches David Bruce (shot put) and Nicholas Sawozenko (discus throw) will make every effort to take to the field of play in the best possible shape.
“I was very excited to be selected. I’ve worked hard over the past year or so to improve my throwing, and it’s another stepping stone in my athletics. There’s work to be done in the next few months to make sure I’m at my best and the experience there will help me prepare for the World Under 20’s next year,” Kolesnikoff said.
“I’d like to think that I can challenge for a medal. I’ve been picked for the discus throw, and will likely have the chance to compete in the shot put, too. I’m ranked well in both events and if I can meet the goals I’ve set for myself then I should be in the mix.”
Introduced in 2007, the Athletics Australia Under 19 Talent Squad features athletes recognised as having the potential to compete at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships before going on to become senior international athletes.
The program aims to set up a network of support around talented athletes to assist in their transition to open age competition, to further educate and inspire developing athletes and to build understanding of the behaviours and commitments required to be an elite athlete.
“The Under 19 Talent Squad is in its 11th year and the program continues to move from strength to strength,” Sara Mulkearns, Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager, said.
“We have worked hard to partner with the Australian Institute of Sport and other sports academies and institutes to develop a program that expands the knowledge of our developing athletes. It’s also fantastic to include the talent and experience of the personal coaches, with collaboration ensuring the best possible outcomes for athletes as they develop and seek qualification to future Australian teams.”
Members of the Athletics Australia Under 19 Talent Squad will come together again at the Australian Institute of Sport in September, with the program then featuring more event specific activities under the guidance of National Junior Coaches.
Athletics Australia’s Under 19 Talent Squad is Emerging Level of the National Athlete Support Structure, directly contributing to the Australian Institute of Sport’s Winning Edge program.
For more information on Athletics Australia’s Under 19 Talent Squad, and to view the selected athletes for 2017, please click here.