SPORT MATTERS: A town with a ticket to Olympics writes Paul Goodwin

Tae Kwon Do star Niall Gibson, of Bessacarr, recently won a silver in the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Liz Mockler D8288LM
Tae Kwon Do star Niall Gibson, of Bessacarr, recently won a silver in the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Liz Mockler D8288LM

IT’S not unusual in this job to hear about youngsters being tipped to reach the top.

Those that do, of course, are in the minority.

Liam Ramsay in action.

Liam Ramsay in action.

Only the most dedicated and driven individuals make their sporting dreams come true.

But as London 2012 fever starts to grip the nation, it’s worth flagging up what a talented bunch of kids we actually have in Doncaster.

And when it comes to Olympic disciplines we’ve got most bases covered!

It was a pleasure to talk to former Taekwondo star Kathy Hook this week who has guided youngsters Connor Lill, 10, and Owen Turner, eight, to British Championship gold medals.

Scawthorpe boxer Luke Crowcroft who won the 81kg Junior ABA Championship. Picture: Trevor Price.

Scawthorpe boxer Luke Crowcroft who won the 81kg Junior ABA Championship. Picture: Trevor Price.

According to Kathy, the pair have the 2020 Games in their sights - and they have the potential to be the best in the business.

Taekwondo teen Niall Gibson is another name to keep an eye on.

Last week we featured slalom canoeist Samuel Ibbotson from Sprotbrough, one of the most highly rated youngsters in his preferred sport.

Over the coming weeks we’ll hear from clay pigeon shooting star Sam McGonigal, a Hatfield Visual Arts College student rated as the best under 21 shooter in the country.

Boxing sensations Connor Nixon and Luke Crowcroft are two of the most talked about teenagers on the national circuit.

In the swimming pool, Doncaster Dartes have high hopes for Max Litchfield among others.

While heptathlete Liam Ramsay, from Edlington, seems destined for the big time after breaking into the Great Britain junior squad - and has his heart set on a senior call-up for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

These youngsters all have a dream.

And whatever you say about the cost of London 2012 to an economy currently on its knees, it’s an event that will inspire and challenge our children of today.

Doncaster’s future stars will be in awe of the likes of Sarah Stevenson and Barry Middleton when the Olympics kick into gear next year.

And that sort of inspiration is priceless.

Sometimes even the most talented youngsters need a nudge in the right direction, as life throws up all sorts of possible alternatives to sport.

And London 2012 will provide exactly that.

These youngsters have all got a ticket to Olympic stardom - and Doncaster is right behind them.

n So Billy Sharp remains at Rovers despite the best attempts of Ipswich and Southampton to lure him away.

But you get the feeling there could be more twists and turns before the start of the season.

Were a Premier League club to come in for Billy no-one would begrudge him the opportunity of bettering himself in the best league in the world.

It would be a massive kick in the teeth, however, if Billy was to line up against Doncaster in the Championship this term.

An offer in the region of £4million would probably be too good to turn down.

But if Rovers cashed in on Billy they wouldn’t just be selling their star striker.

They’d be selling one of the club’s main marketing tools and a seriously infectious character who gets the best out of his team-mates.

They’d be selling a player who Rovers fans idolise, someone that youngsters from Doncaster can aspire to emulate.

They’d be selling a potential Rovers legend.

Selling would be demoralising for DRFC - and a PR disaster at a time when the club is trying to sell season tickets.

Over to you John Ryan.