Giving athletes a lift on road to Rio

November 2nd, 2014

Athletes with their sights on Olympic glory in 2016 have received sports bursaries from the University.

The bursaries underline Nottingham’s commitment to encouraging sporting excellence among its students while it aims to be the academic university of choice for talented sports men and women.

Among the recipients are international high jumper Isobel Pooley and Harry Martin, a Great Britain hockey star who played in every match at London 2012. The team narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.

Like 10 other Sport Bursars they received a package worth around £2,000, which includes £1,000 for equipment, competitions and training.

They also receive free physio screening, a personal sporting mentor, free sports membership, specialist strength and conditioning programme, free physiotherapy and nutritional advice.

Isobel, Britain’s high jump No1, says the University provided the highlight of her athletic career so far when she won both the indoor and outdoor titles in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships in 2012. Her outdoor gold was claimed at the Olympic Stadium in front of a 45,000-strong crowd.

The third-year Animal Science student said the curtain-raiser for the 2012 London Games was a fantastic experience and brought university sport to a new audience. She also acted as an ambassador in the Olympic Park. “It was an unbelievable week and such a great honour to represent the University as an ambassador as well as an athlete,” she said.

She said her bursary will help meet travel and accommodation costs and added that ongoing support and encouragement allayed her initial fears she would not be able to balance sporting and academic excellence.

This year Isobel came 4th at the European U23 Championships and has pledged to medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before competing in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and at Rio  De Janeiro in 2016.

She added:  “Athletics can sometimes feel lonely without the kind of backing and friendship I have had from the University’s Sport team.”

Fourteen students, including tennis player Barbara Hankova, receive an elite squad bursary with the same benefits and finance of £500. The University’s women’s No1 is a former professional who made the decision to concentrate on her studies after a back injury.

Now in the second year of a degree in Management Studies, after a year at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, she said: “The University gave me a great opportunity to come back to the sport I love.”

Ten student athletes who are world class but compete outside the BUCS programme receive the bursary package and may apply for discretionary funding.

The University has as a strong tradition of sporting success. Graduates from Nottingham secured two gold, two silver and a bronze at London 2012, placing the University second in the UK’s higher education provider medal table.

Assistant Director of Physical Recreation and Sport, Nigel Mayglothling, said: “The University of Nottingham passionately believes in encouraging and supporting our students in achieving excellence and this extends to achieving goals in sport as well as in their academic life.

“The Sports Bursary Scheme underlines our determination to support University athletes as they strive to be the best they can be. It’s wonderful that these champions can rub shoulders with fellow students in a supportive environment. The University is proud to boast a number of Olympians and we look forward to further success for our students in Rio in 2016.”

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