Lane all set for Olympic festival
EXMOUTH'S Alex Lane insists he could not be better prepared for the biggest challenge of his career at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The 17-year-old badminton player has trained every day since December 28, whilst also taking a trip to the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes to spend time with the nation's top professionals.
After consulting with Britain's London 2012 Olympians and coaches, Lane is well-prepared for his trip Down Under, where he will represent GB for the first time.
And with Rio 2016 on the horizon, the Exmouth Community College pupil is expecting to gain valuable experience from the multi-sport event in Sydney, which starts on January 16 and last for five days.
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"Preparations have been going very well. I am still training hard at the moment and getting ready for Australia in the best way possible," said Lane. "I had a week off over Christmas but since December 28 I have been training every day and I've even been able to go to Milton Keynes to train with the seniors and their coaches.
"That was a great experience because being around the top players and coaches in England is obviously going to help you improve.
"I told them about the Youth Olympics and some had been before so they were all telling me it will be great and to make sure I enjoy it.
"It's the first time I am representing Great Britain and it was really cool to receive the kit with the Olympic rings on it.
"The only other similar thing I have been to is the UK School Games, but this will be so much better because it's in Australia for one and it is on a world scale."
Lane is part of the 120-strong British team that will compete against 1,700 athletes aged 12 to 20 from 30 nations across 17 Olympic sports in many of the venues used to host the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
And, although unaware of the calibre of opposition, Lane says his performance will be more important than results.
"I don't know how strong the opposition is going to be but all I can do is try my best and perhaps if it is weaker than expected I can pick up a medal," he added.
"As long as I play my best and perform well I'll be happy. This competition offers the whole experience package so I hope it will be really positive for me looking forward to the rest of 2013."
Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, supported 1,000 of Britain's most talented developing athletes on their journey towards London 2012. As part of Lloyds TSB's commitment to leaving a sporting legacy, the programme will continue in 2013. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes.