- National Teams
In a perfect example of the types of barriers young British basketball players must face, top prospect and GB U20 player Devon Van Oostrum was denied access to train at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield last week, despite holding a British Olympic Association ‘Gold Card’.
Caja Laboral guard Van Oostrum, who is currently out in Sarajevo, Bosnia, competing with the GB U20s, returned to Sheffield for a week in-between training camp, and was looking to continue training at his hometown facility.
“As a potential member of the Olympic men’s basketball team next year in London, Van Oostrum is part of a ‘Gold Card’ scheme run by the British Olympic Association (BOA). The card entitles the holder to BOA negotiated access to a nominated local sports centre or gym. Van Oostrum asked to use the EISS for his daily two hour programme of shooting and fitness work before joining up with the British team.
However, the EISS said they were unable to accommodate him. And, despite being part of the Sheffield International Venues group of 14 sports facilities, didn’t offer an alternative. Duco Van Oostrum, Devon’s father, said: “The BOA requested, with a letter of support from the head of British Basketball performance, for Devon to have access to the EISS during his week off for shooting and fitness.
“He was prepared to train at any time to fit in with the venue but they basically said no because it was only for such a short period of time.”
Lorenzo Clark, director of operations for Sheffield International Venues, which operates the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS), said: “One of our key objectives is to develop individual sporting potential. We have long-term agreements in place to support more than 20 elite athletes training for 2012, as well as providing a base for the Great Britain Volleyball, Table Tennis and Boxing squads who will be competing at the London Games.
“Across our portfolio of venues we support teams and individuals on all levels across most sports and operate development rates for clubs. The week when Devon wanted free use of EISS (June 27-July 1) the venue was extremely busy with bookings for other sports and activities.””
And there was me thinking the Institute’s of Sport were there to help and develop our elite athletes.