Birmingham Seven set for summer advice from Dame Kelly

Alison Leonard and Kelly Holmes

Seven University of Birmingham students – Alex Cornwell, Lucy Dowsett, Katie Knowles, Alison Leonard, Sam Petty, Cally Read and Chris Smith - are set to ignite their 2011 summer track seasons after receiving advice from Dame Kelly Holmes at the latest ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ Aviva-sponsored Get-Together.

The group enjoyed an action packed day on Campus over the first weekend in May (Saturday 7 and Sunday 8), which involved training and workshops designed to prepare them for their tough season ahead.

Following tough training sessions and a season preparation workshop where the athletes outlined their goals for the summer and received advice and tips from Dame Kelly, the group then learned self-massage techniques in an injury-prevention session.

Later in the day, they learned interview techniques in a media training workshop, gained nutritional advice and tested their core strength and flexibility in a Pilates session.

Alison Leonard (third year Biology), the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) 1500m champion said: ‘I wasn’t able to stay for much of the day due to having to study for my final university exams but really enjoyed the track session.’

The 21 year-old, who is aiming for a medal at the European Athletics Under-23 championships in Ostrava in July, added: ‘It was really good to be timed and joined by Dame Kelly for the last 50m of each 300m repetition and it was nice seeing the other girls and having a massage, which was beneficial.’

Chris Smith (second year Culture, Society and Communications), who is also aiming for Ostrava, said: ‘Whenever Kelly puts together an ‘On Camp with Kelly’ event, it’s always a pleasure to be invited. Everything we have done today has been really beneficial, especially doing a track session with other athletes and the workshops were really great. I enjoyed working with all the athletes and the facilities were fantastic.’

Dame Kelly, the 2004 800m and 1500m Olympic champion reflected: ‘The Get-Together went very well - it is the first time I’ve joined up my ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and ‘Future Stars’ athletes like this and I think they all excelled and learned a lot.

‘The workshops were appropriate for this time of year such as season preparation to help get them ready for the season ahead and having the opportunity to all train together was something they all really thrived on and a different environment helped bring the best out of them.’

‘On Camp with Kelly’, supported by Aviva since 2004, is double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes’ mentoring and education initiative for talented young middle distance athletes. ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ is Dame Kelly’s education initiative for young middle distance athletes who have won medals at Aviva National Schools Championships. For more information, visit