Hartpury’s Performance Lifestyle Manager, Ruth Owen-Evans, will help shape the next generation of Welsh sporting superstars after taking on a new role with Sky Sports.
Elite mountain biker Ruth has been selected as one of only seven new ‘Athlete Mentors’ with Sky Sports Living for Sports team. In a pilot with Sport Wales, the mentors will be tasked with inspiring young Welsh athletes and students, linking Living with Sports with the new ‘Passing the Baton’ Physical Literacy programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government.
Hartpury became the first UK academic institution to employ a full-time performance lifestyle manager to support its elite athletes when Ruth came on board in October 2013. In this unique role, Ruth helps athletes to balance their academic and sporting schedules.
She also supports them to develop the skills needed to be professional athletes, from time management and negotiation to helping the students as they prepare for their futures.
Ruth established herself as an elite cross-country mountain biker while studying at university, even though she only started competing when she was 21. She has since gone on to become the Welsh national champion in cross-country mountain biking in 2013 and will compete in the European and World Championships for Cross Triathlon later this year.
The new athlete mentors come from a range of sports and include former professional footballer, Cardiff City's Christian Roberts, and two Olympians, gymnast Frankie Roberts and swimmer, Thomas Haffield. The other mentors are Beth Fisher (hockey), Philippa Tuttiett (rugby union) and Bryony Raine (athletics).
Ruth said: “I’m confident that the knowledge and skills I have developed, both as an elite athlete and as a performance lifestyle manager, will be of huge benefit in supporting young athletes in Wales as part of this new programme and I’m excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead.
“Helping young people to be the best they can be in their chosen sport is what I’m passionate about, so this role is perfect for me and I feel privileged to have been picked, especially as I’m in such esteemed company! Our aim as athlete mentors is to help all the students we work with find a passion, introduce them to a wealth of experiences and help them to build valuable life skills and friendships. To achieve that would be hugely rewarding.”
Ruth, alongside the other Athlete Mentors, will be visiting schools in Wales to build the students’ confidence and help them develop life skills. The programme, which is sponsored by the Welsh government, is designed to inspire young athletes to reach their full potential as well as inspire students to become more physically active in their schools and communities.
The mentors were selected for their ability to interact with students and use their backgrounds to inspire them to improve themselves, both in sport and in life. The skills taught by the mentors reach beyond the world of sport and will help students become better learners and more employable.
Some of the most deprived schools in Wales have been selected to receive an additional visit from mentors to help their students gain the confidence and skills for success.