Their fu­ture may not be gold

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - MIKE BAIN

Young tal­ented sports peo­ple are be­ing asked to take a breath be­fore pur­su­ing their dreams in mak­ing it to the top of their sport.

The road to suc­cess is hard and with­out a lot of fi­nan­cial re­ward, and for­mer rower and olympic medal­list Nathan Twad­dle is one who has ‘‘been there, done that’’.

Twad­dle is the man­ager of the Ath­lete Friendly Net­work and has strong words of ad­vice for young ath­letes.

‘‘Tal­ent is not just mea­sured by per­for­mance on the track, but also what you you do when your off it which mat­ters as well,’’ said Twad­dle.

‘‘Re­de­fine what your tal­ent is - you may be the best in your age group but when you get to com­pet­ing on the world stage, ev­ery­one is the best.

‘‘But above all re­mem­ber there is a life to be had when its all over.’’

He said tal­ented teens as­pir­ing to make it to the top of the sport­ing stage must be mind­ful.

‘‘It is just a sea­son in your life and to make a plan for af­ter the sport­ing ca­reer.’’

His role as a part of the High Per­for­mance Sport New Zealand team is to en­sure ath­letes are em­pow­ered to look af­ter them­selves away from the train­ing sched­ules and con­trib­ute to­wards their com­mu­ni­ties.

‘We are lucky to be based in the Waipa Dis­trict, it truly is the Home of Cham­pi­ons and the ath­letes just love be­ing ac­cepted as a part of the com­mu­nity.’’

Ath­letes have had to move and base them­selves in Cam­bridge to fol­low their dreams, ‘‘but cold hard re­al­ity is they have to also sur­vive’’.

‘‘As a coun­try we ask our ath­letes to step up, but now we are ask­ing the com­mu­nity to help them in that step by as­sist­ing with em­ploy­ment,’’ he said.

Twad­dle works in the Cam- bridge area, with the as­sis­tance of Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Ta­nia Withe­ford, and helps em­power ath­letes to con­nect with busi­ness own­ers who he hopes will be able to sup­port ath­letes through their tran­si­tions dur­ing and post their sport­ing ca­reers.

New Zealand’s top Javelin thrower Ben Lang­ton Bur­nell is ben­e­fit­ing through the pro­gram work­ing as an ac­counts an­a­lyst for a Cam­bridge ac­coun­tant.

‘‘It’s ideal for me to train for the World Cham­pi­onships in Au­gust and also have the se­cu­rity of work which also as­sists with the costs as­so­ci­ated with the sport,’’ Bur­nell said.

Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Ta­nia Withe­ford, Ben Lang­ton Bur­nell and Nathan Twad­dle.

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