Find out what makes a world champion at Sheffield Hallam University event

Bryony Page
Bryony Page
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Sheffield has helped create its fair share of world champions in recent years, from natives such as Jess Ennis-Hill to those including Anthony Joshua who make the most of the city's sporting facilities.

But what does it take for an elite athlete to take that final step and become the best in their field?

That question will be answered next week by five people who between them have an in-depth knowledge of how to achieve sporting success.

Sheffield Hallam University will host 'What Makes A World Champion?' at its Charles Street building on Tuesday.

The free panel event will look at the immense amount of work that helps every top-level athlete reach their goals.

Among the speakers will be Sheffield trampolinist Bryony Page, who won Olympic silver in Rio last year and is also a European Championship gold medal winner.

Paul Greaves

Paul Greaves

She puts her own success down to a 'combination of so many different things'.

"My sport is something I have always been passionate about and wanted to pursue, but I realised it was something I could do full time and really dedicate myself to," she said.

"I have had so much support from the EIS and British Gymnastics. It's not just one person.

"I have to do the work and commit myself to what the experts know, but when you get on that podium you are sharing it with anyone that's helped out - all the people working behind you to make you the athlete that you are."

Dr Mayur Ranchordas

Dr Mayur Ranchordas

That's a theme echoed by Bryony's coach Paul Greaves, himself a Sheffield Hallam graduate and fellow panel member.

He said much of his job was managing the various disciplines in the support team, from nutrition to psychology.

But he also highlighted the importance of getting to know the person behind the athlete.

"Coaches will know what works for one and what works for another," said Paul.

Dr David James

Dr David James

"I want people to understand that it's not just simply an athlete doing it all. There's so much more to being world class that people don't really get to know about.

"How do the athletes on the podiums get there? What was their journey? There's a whole other world to an athlete achieving that success."

Also speaking on Tuseday is Dr Mayur Ranchordas, a senior lecturer in sport nutrition and exercise physiology.

He will share his knowledge of how small changes can affect an athlete.

"I look at what athletes eat and how that can influence performance," he said.

"I measure bloods - is there anything missing? Are there any supplements they can take?

Joanne Butt

Joanne Butt

"Recovery is something else we do a lot of. Volume and intensity is really key. How much you train dictates how you can improve. But your body can only take so much."

Mayur said everything from diet plans to the amount of rest was dictated by the particular sport.

He also suggested a discussion about doping on Tuesday could prove interesting.

"I don't think you will ever eradicate it," he said. "When there's so much money and fame involved, athletes are going to push the boundaries."

Dr David James will bring his background in sports engineering to the panel.

He is the director of the world-renowned Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Hallam, and has worked with global organisations such as Fifa and Adidas.

David said analysing sporting performance was a 'constant feedback process'.

"It's very easy to over-train athletes or to have them not peak at the right time," he said.

"With data and intelligence about condition of the athletes, you can start to predict when they will peak.

"If an athlete is working at a very high level consistently they will break."

And sport and exercise psychologist Joanne Butt hopes to give an insight into the mental attributes that can help make a world-beating athlete.

"What are those key psychological attributes that we know elite athletes have? And how do they develop these attributes along the way?" she said.

"We know elite athletes tend to be really goal-driven, with a high level of self belief. They are good at dealing with adversity so we know they have got that mental toughness.

"And something I have focused my research on is how you go about building that and developing it in athletes, because we know it can make the difference."

The panel event runs from 6.30pm to 8pm, with refreshments from 6pm. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the panel and join in the discussion.

The event is free but people must register at