ACCRINGTON teenager Leigh Lennon’s London 2012 Olympic bid was boosted after her coach and father Don received a training-master class from double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.
Lennon Senior, who trains Leigh -one of the top 17-year-old 800m runners in the UK - at Ribble Valley Athletics Club, was handpicked by Dame Kelly to take part in the ‘On Camp with Kelly’ coach development weekend at Leeds Met Carnegie University.
The 40-year-old was put through his paces in a range of activities, including circuit training and psychological seminars, with the likes of Dame Kelly’s former physio Alison Rose offering specialist advice.
And Lennon senior believes his coaching seminar with Dame Kelly will boost apprentice Leigh’s bid to compete at the London 2012 Olympics.
"Dame Kelly is a superb figurehead. The athletes can look up to and I’m delighted to be part of that - I know this weekend will benefit Leigh," said Don, who also coaches middle distance runner Robbie Schofield, another London hopeful.
"Leigh’s summer has been fantastic. It was her first year as an Under 20 and for a then 16-year-old going on to the track, it can be a bit daunting.
"But she’s been consistent – she’s had a couple of dips with colds and different niggles – but as a whole, I can’t praise her highly enough.
"Her aim is to try and get selection for the European Junior Championships which I think are important. She missed out on the World Juniors this year so I think her ultimate aim is to achieve that in 2010."
Lennon was selected earlier this year by Dame Kelly to join her elite middle-distance training squad – ‘On Camp with Kelly’.
And the latest brainchild of Dame Kelly – an intensive training session for Accrington-based father Don – will only benefit her young middle-distance starlets.
"We have worked really hard with the athletes and they are being given a lot of knowledge and have hopefully progressed," said Holmes. "Now we need to ensure that the coaches are in line with what we are telling the young athletes.
"If the coaches don’t understand what we are doing then the athletes are not going to benefit and that is what this course is all about.
"The athletes that have been on board this year have all progressed but we are always looking for more from them again next season."
Dame Kelly’s mentoring scheme for middle distance runners, On Camp with Kelly, has been supported by Norwich Union since 2004. Find out more at www.joinourteam.com.