Wakefield sports students get advice from Team Sky and British Cycling nutritionist

Nigel Mitchell: Team Sky and British Cycling head of nutrition. Speaking during a visit to Wakefield college, Thornes. w306b246
Nigel Mitchell: Team Sky and British Cycling head of nutrition. Speaking during a visit to Wakefield college, Thornes. w306b246

SPORTS students from Wakefield received nutritional advice from a man who has helped fuel the success of British cycling stars including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy.

Nigel Mitchell, head of nutrition at British Cycling and Team Sky, visited Wakefield College’s Thornes Park campus on Monday to chat to students about the “marginal gains” in sport that can be achieved through a good diet.

The students, some of whom represent the college at sport and some who study sport and nutrition, packed into the Thornes Park lecture theatre to hear Barnsley-based Mitchell discuss the importance of good nutrition in modern-day sport and the opportunities available to help others achieve their goals.

“Top-level sport is becoming more sophisticated and as a reflection of that increased level of professionalism there’s a greater interest and awareness in things like nutrition,” said Mitchell.

“One of the problems is that there are more opportunities than there are qualified people to do it so I always find it interesting talking to students from any level.

“Some of these people can be the people who are working within sport in the future.

“It’s very important for this age group because for these people there are real opportunities to work within sport in different capacities.

“They can make a good living and have an interesting job in contributing to the success of teams and sport.”

As well as playing a key role in the worldwide success of Team Sky and British Cycling, Mitchell has also given nutritional advice to a wide variety of sports including rugby, football, boxing and swimming.

It is his work within top-level cycling that produced the most inspiring examples for the budding Wakefield students, however.

“The philosophy in British Cycling is about planning and preparation and that we’re doing everything we can to contribute to the small gains that we can get,” he said.

“The term we use is ‘marginal gains’, it’s the little bits that contribute to the overall success.”

Katie Mathews, the college’s Academic Coordinator for the BTEC Sport, said Mitchell’s visit was a real coup for Wakefield and its sports students.

“Every sport course we have here has a sports nutrition module so it will help the students when it comes to assessments,” she said.

“I know Nigel’s visit will help push them on and help them understand things a little better because Nigel can put everything into working sporting examples.

“He offered to do it for us for free so it’s a credit to Nigel that he wants to do this.

“We have to thank him and Karen Thompson [NHS Wakefield] for sorting it out. It’s a fantastic thing for Wakefield College to be offered.”

See this week’s Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.