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EIS Wins Three Categories At Annual UK Sport PLx Awards Ceremony

18 November 2020

The English Institute of Sport (EIS) has won three categories at UK Sport’s annual PLx awards ceremony.

Launched for the first time in 2019, the PLx awards recognise those individuals, teams and sports who have made a significant contribution to the high-performance community and had a positive impact across coaching, support services, innovation, collaboration and team working, and social impact.

The EIS was honoured with winners in three of the seven overall categories as part of a special virtual ceremony hosted by UK Sport Chair Dame Katherine Grainger and broadcaster Hazel Irvine.

The EIS winners are:

Support staff/practitioner from any specialism who has made a special impact on high-performance
Laura Needham, Ben Stephenson, Lucy Wainwright – EIS practitioners working for British Triathlon 

Laura Needham, Ben Stephenson and Lucy Wainwright have been working on a sports heat and humidity strategy since 2016 as part of British Triathlon’s plans to prepare for the conditions at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. This work proved vital as the British team claimed nine medals at the Tokyo Test Event in August 2019.

Lucy Wainwright, Senior Performance Nutritionist, said: 

“We have tried to immerse ourselves in what athletes will face and how it will feel, and then tried to build strategies where we can understand how each individual will cope with that environment. We have set up processes that support each of our individual athletes to be on the start line with the confidence that they can deal with whatever the conditions are and that they can still perform to their best on the day.”

Innovation Award – innovation which has made a significant improvement in high-performance sport
The EIS Performance Innovation, Physiology & Athlete Health teams

The team at the EIS, in collaboration with Mint Diagnostics, developed a new, first of a kind technology – Hormonix – that provides clear, rapid and accurate information on hormone levels through a saliva sample. Regular and easy to access data on hormones has enormous potential to unlock a wide variety of opportunities to progress female health, performance and wellbeing.

Dr Richard Burden, Bioscience Lead, said: 

“This whole project started four years ago with a conversation with Mint Diagnostics with them asking whether it would be useful for us to collect hormone data without the use of a lab, without the use of painful needles – and the answer was a million times yes. We slowly got the inkling that this could be a really, really big thing.”

Collaboration & Team Working – best practice from a sport demonstrating impact in improving elite sport performance
The EIS Psycho-Social Working Group 

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the EIS Psychology, Performance Lifestyle and Mental Health teams formed a collaborative working group with the aim of proactively supporting the mental health of the high-performance community and optimising the transition back into training. Through close collaboration, a comprehensive, agile and responsive programme of support and guidance was delivered to provide the best support to the people in the high-performance community.

Kate Hays, Head of Psychology, said: 

​​​​​​​“We are in a really privileged position to be able to represent three exceptional teams. The practitioners within those teams have been working so hard and so tirelessly – day-in, day-out – over this period of time to ensure that the work that is created has a real impact on the day-to-day.”

Nigel Walker OBE, EIS National Director, said:

“To win three out of seven categories at UK Sport’s PLx Awards is a fantastic achievement and testament to the phenomenal commitment, passion and knowledge of our practitioners. All of our winners have featured collaboration across different disciplines, and the way we share knowledge and ideas across our network is truly unique to the EIS.

“I’m incredibly proud of our winning teams, as well as those who were nominated for awards, and delighted they have been recognised for delivering outstanding performance impact to sports and athletes.”