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Nino Severino: A sporting powerhouse who can help Suffolk’s athletes reach the next level

PUBLISHED: 12:26 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 29 August 2018

Ex rugby-pro Wez Pooley will be working with Nino Severino to help Suffolk's athletes. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ex rugby-pro Wez Pooley will be working with Nino Severino to help Suffolk's athletes. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

In his latest column, Nino Severino discusses a chance meeting with a big personality who could soon be helping Suffolk’s athletes hit the next level in their sporting endeavours.

Wez Pooley putting young tennis player Anya Taylor through a strength and conditioning session. Picture: PAVEL KRICKAWez Pooley putting young tennis player Anya Taylor through a strength and conditioning session. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

I’ve spent over 30 years in the sports coaching business, much of this involved in the very important area of strength and conditioning.

It’s an area I’ve studied very closely and made sure that it has been incorporated in all the athlete’s programmes I have ever managed over the years. One of my meetings recently brought this subject to the forefront.

A few weeks ago, I covered the area of DNA in one of my columns, and how Muhdo, an Ipswich-based company is driving the development of this subject forward.

There are some very exciting projects being planned with Muhdo Health around the many athletes I am connected with, and how their research can help their performances.

I have attended many meetings with the Muhdo team, and was told that at the next one the Performance Director, an ex-professional rugby player would be attending, a man called Wez Pooley.

Little did I know at that point that this meeting was going to bring a very powerful and interesting personality into my day to day life!

As soon as you meet Wez, there are two things that strike you, his very warm smile, and the sheer size of his physique! We shook hands, sat down, and started talking all things health, fitness and strength and conditioning, this discussion created an immediate connection.

I wanted to know more about this powerhouse, so I asked him how his life path had brought him to Ipswich, and it’s a very interesting story.

Wez started his sporting career with Worcester Under 20 Rugby Academy, which was his entry into professional sport.

Wez Pooley during a training session. Picture: PAVEL KRICKAWez Pooley during a training session. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

He committed his life to rugby and carved out a very impressive career, going on to play at a very high level, initially in the Welsh and Cardiff District during 2001-2004, which led him onto the Cardiff Blues between 2005 to 2007 and then the Welsh Rugby League through the 2007/2008 season.

Between 2001 to 2018 he also played for many Elite Rugby 7’s teams including Ronin, Samuri, Apache, Esher, Scorpian and the Wooden Spoon Marauders.

I often talk about sport being such a positive influence on young peoples lives, and, if you are lucky enough to compete at the highest level, how it can take you on a journey around the world – and this is exactly what happened in Wez’s case.

During his time in the Super Series 7’s, he was involved in tours to Dubia, Amsterdam, Rome, Kenya, USA, Canada and Sweden.

The global travelling was something that both of us had in common, and it goes without saying that our first meeting was a very long one, sharing the many stories, events and adventures that we had both experienced over the years.

Wez told me that he wanted to do something very positive with his rugby skills and the connections he had built up over his time in this great sport.

He told me that he was partially deaf in both ears, and that he wanted to create quality rugby opportunites for others in the same situation. This motivation drove him to launch Wales Deaf Rugby in 2004, which he has committed to in a very unselfish and relentless way. The Welsh Deaf Rugby team clearly have been led very well by Wez, becoming World Cup 7s winners and using this success to tour South Africa and many countries across the world.

As Wez was telling me his stories about his time in professional rugby, it was when he was talking about his beloved Welsh Deaf Team and their old rivalry with the England team which brought a look of pride to his face.

It’s very clear that he is passionate about the team, and what he has achieved with them during his 14 years so far – he is still very involved and continues to commit to developing the team and being part of the competitive schedule.

Wez Pooley puts young tennis talent Anya Taylor through her paces. Picture: PAVEL KRICKAWez Pooley puts young tennis talent Anya Taylor through her paces. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Looking at Wez’s physique, its no surprise that his time in the professional world of strength and conditioning has seen him working at the highest level, with Premier League football team Brighton & Hove Albion, and in the England international rugby set-up.

After our chat I asked if he would like to join the many areas of sport I am involved in and pass his experience and strength and conditioning skills on to the local and regional elite athletes I am connected with.

I’m so very glad he accepted the offer, and we are now discussing him being involved with our Centre of Excellence at the University of Suffolk Hub, the ISC Tennis Academy and The Elena Baltacha Foundation.

Wez is not only an athletic powerhouse, he is an exceptional personality and character, and I am very excited to see where our professional relationship will lead us!

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