TIS moves to prevent dark days in sport

Australian Olympic water polo bronze medallist Rowena Webster (second from right) talks with TIS hockey trio Madeleine Murphey, Benji Austin and Madeleine Hinton at the elite athlete performance induction at Newstead College yesterday. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Australian Olympic water polo bronze medallist Rowena Webster (second from right) talks with TIS hockey trio Madeleine Murphey, Benji Austin and Madeleine Hinton at the elite athlete performance induction at Newstead College yesterday. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

LAST year's "darkest day in sport", which threw into question the integrity of professional sport in this country, is a prime example of why events such as yesterday's Tasmanian Institute of Sport's elite athlete performance induction in Launceston are so important.

That was the opinion of TIS manager of performance services Stewart Pither as 80 young athletes aged between 14 and 21, coming from the sports of cycling, women's soccer, hockey, track and field, lawn bowls and swimming were given an insight into elite sport.

The day was used to teach the athletes about nutrition and supplements, dealing with the media, the importance of sleep recovery, as well as presentations from ASADA and the issue of gambling in sport.

"It's a real education day targeting not just TIS scholarship holders, but the next group of athletes coming through the emerging talent squads," Pither said.

"It's more and more important to get this information to them early, especially when you look at cases in the media with sporting identities, so we really have to focus on getting this information to these athletes now, so as they progress they hopefully won't fall into the same pitfalls.

"Gambling was added this year to the program, as more and more younger athletes have access to mobile phones and can gamble from there, and also especially with the Essendon [supplements] scandal and the darkest day in sport, we've really looked at nutrition and supplements and had someone in from ASADA."

Australian water polo Olympic bronze medallist Rowena Webster was also a guest speaker, sharing her experiences as an elite athlete.

"I never got the opportunity to have something like this when I was starting at the VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport]," the 26-year-old said.

"It is great that they have them now, as the quicker you can get the information out to the athletes and the more knowledge you can give them, the more successful they can be later on."

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