Gold is goal
PUBLISHED: 15:09 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013
A chosen few will achieve golden success at the 2012 Olympics in London. Kate Williams from SportEssex reveals the young Essex hopefuls dreaming of glory...
It was while staying at his grandparents one summer holiday that Bradley Watts first came across a BMX track. Now aged 17, the Braintree resident has competed at every level of the sport, from club and regional to British and European, and he's determined to do what it takes to get himself ready for when the Olympics hit London. Bradley has trained with the Olympic Development Squad for nearly two years and is showing great improvements as a result. With four years to get ready, he should have plenty of time to practice jumping his bike onto the podium.
Chelmsford resident Alex Dowsett was only 13 when he was spotted by British Cycling and asked to join its talent team. His talent has progressed down the years and he has since been selected for the GB Olympic Development Programme and the GB Academy. In 2007 Alex made the step up to senior level and this year Alex attended the British Madison Track Championships at Manchester Velodrome where he won a bronze medal. Alex is regarded as one of the big hopes for British Cycling and already a hot favourite for golden glory at London 2012.
Canvey Island swimmer Chloe Williams is a member of both the Eastern Region Disability Swim Squad and the Great Britain National Learning Disability Squad. Having started swimming as a novice only six years ago, Chloe has proved to be incredibly dedicated to her sport and swims more than 36,000 metres each week in training. Chloe has made great progress in her sport so far and in the last year set three new British records at 200, 800 and 1,500 metres. She won gold at the World Championships and is definitely a contender for London 2012.
Manningtree's Ryan Crouch is 14 years old and has cerebral palsy. He is a member of the British Disability World Class Development Podium Level and currently trains 12 hours a week. At last year's Junior Nationals in Sheffield, Ryan came home with an impressive have of seven golds and one bronze medal as well as achieving personal bests in each of his events. Having only started competitive swimming two years ago, Ryan is already making a great impact on the sport an it's his dream to participate at the 2012 Paralympic games in London.
Gianni Frankis is already one of the top five British 110m hurlers. Pitsea-born Gianni was talent spotted at school and trained throughout his education. His hard work paid off when he was named English Schools champion in 2005. Since finishing his studies, and with the support of UK Athletics, Gianni has increased his training to six times a week and has competed in both the Beijing World Junior Championships and the European Juniors. Winner of the Olympic Hopeful Award at the 2007 Essex Sports Awards, Gianni is certainly one to look out for in future.
Winner of the Paralympic Hopeful Award at the 2007 Essex Sports Awards, Jo-Jo Cranfield looks set be a true star of the future. Hailing from Westcliff on Sea, Jo-Jo swims for Rochford and District Swimming Club and was selected for the Disability Swimming World Class Program in 2006. Having been internationally ranked in six events including 5th in the 100metres breaststroke, Jo-Jo was selected to represent her country at the Danish Open Championships last year and has now been invited to join the World Class Development Pathway.
Training with the Southend-based Team Viper triathlon club, Lara Nyman is preparing hard to make her way onto the Great Britain squad for London 2012. While most people may struggle to do well in one sport, Lara's talents in swimming, running and cycling have gained her a gold medal at the National Youth Duathlon Championships and silver at the National Youth Triathlon Championships at Blenheim Palace. Now 16, Lara is still making great strides and has been accepted on the World Class Performance Pathway, so she's definitely one to keep your eye on for the future.
Roberto Pavoni has been a member of the British Swimming Team since the age of 11 and has been working non-stop since then to become one of the county's big hopes for London 2012. Living in Shenfield, Roberto is a member of Brentwood Swimming Club and achieved his best ever results last year by winning gold in both the 200metre and 400metre individual medley at the European Youth Olympic Games in Belgrade. He also finished an outstanding 4th in the 200metre butterfly. This year Roberto joined the British Offshore Centre in Australia.