ONE of Britain’s highest hopes for future athletic success has just returned from a month of intensive, high altitude training out in Arizona, where he trained alongside his sporting idols Mo Farah and British champion Charlie Grice.
Robbie Fitzgibbon, 21 from Brighton, was one of only 20 athletes selected to go on the trip with the British Athletics Training team.
The experience was only made possible thanks to a £1,000 SportsAid award courtesy of the Rendezvous casino in Brighton.
Robbie said: “High altitude training programmes like these are invaluable in terms of boosting my performance levels to ensure I am functioning at my absolute best.
“There is no way I could have gone without the funding from The Rendezvous casino, I’m so very grateful.”
At an altitude of 2,100m, the team had to work much harder than usual due to them having considerably less oxygen.
They also produce more red blood cells when they return back to sea level, which is proven to help improve performance levels.
Robbie said: “The signs suggest that the training has helped as I’ve already had some great results since my return and am currently on track to get selected for the World Championships.”
Robbie won the English School’s Track and Field Championship when he was 18, then went on to compete in the 1,500m at the Junior European Championships (under 20s) where he finished fifth.
In 2016 he was ranked 8th in the UK in and 9th in Europe (U23 age group) for the 1,500m.
He said: “My ultimate goal is to get to the 2020 Olympics on Tokyo and to win a Gold medal.
“But it is so competitive out there.
“Local sponsorships like this are invaluable not only in terms of ensuring I can invest in the best possible training, and continue to commit to the on-going travel, competition and general living costs, but also for the extra vote of confidence outside my support group, which definitely provides me with even more determination to succeed.”
The donation is part of The Rendezvous Brighton’s ongoing commitment to SportsAid, a charity that helps young sports people overcome the financial challenges they face in their bid to become Britain’s next generation of sporting heroes.
Roxanne Malan, marketing manager at the Rendezvous Brighton, said: “It’s great that Robbie has already been able to put the funding to good use and has started to see the benefits.
“We take great pride in our charity work.”