Some of Great Britain's young sports stars are travelling up to an astonishing 800 miles a month, training 6 days a week and spending more than 1000 pounds a year on equipment and training in pursuit of sporting success, according to a new survey by the Youth Sport Trust.
The figures, released by the leading PE and school sports charity during its National Talent Camp at Loughborough University, also show nearly 9 out of 10 elite youngsters (88%) admit they can find it difficult at times balancing their commitment to their sport with their education.
The four-day National Talent Camp (18th - 21st December) offers nearly one hundred 14-18 year olds a unique insight in to the world of performance sport and prepares them for the personal, academic and vocational challenges which lie ahead.
The young people attending the camp will take part in tough physical training sessions as well as focused workshops with athlete mentors looking at the determination and lifestyle required to be an elite athlete. The sports represented at the 2011 camp are canoeing, cycling, rowing, hockey, wheelchair basketball, girl's rugby, girl's football, netball and volleyball.
The Youth Sport Trust surveyed 100 young people identified as talented in their sports. More than one in three (36%) train six days a week, nearly seven out of 10 (69%) said their parents or guardians spend over £1000 on training and equipment costs a year and more than one in four (28%) travel more than 200 miles a week to get to training and competition.
Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener, who is attending the National Talent Camp as a Youth Sport Trust ambassador, believes these statistics show the unbelievable commitment of aspiring sporting champions:
"Being an elite athlete requires huge commitment and sacrifice and I know that many of the young people attending this camp are prepared to show the dedication you need to be the best. These figures highlight just some the lengths they are prepared to go to in order to achieve sporting success."
Other findings from the Youth Sport Trust survey show that nearly all of the young people (95%) would be prepared to miss a summer holiday or a party with friends in order to go training but less than half of them (46%) feel they are put under pressure to succeed by their coaches, family, teachers or friends.
Alison Oliver, Director of Sport at the Youth Sport Trust, added:
"This camp is all about giving the young people an insight in both the mental and physical challenges they will be presented with if they go on to be elite sports stars. The lessons they learn here are invaluable in preparing them for the many challenges experienced in a successful career in sport."
The Youth Sport Trust is committed to supporting young people with a talent achieve their best in sport alongside their education. The National Talent Camp represents one element of the Trust's wider programme of Junior Athlete Education which is implemented through schools.