University of Nottingham student and international high-jumper Isobel Pooley has her sights set on a place at London 2012 after taking gold at the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships in Sheffield.
Success at her first university championships comes just weeks after the Biosciences student set a new personal best of 1.88 metres – a mark just four centimetres short of the British Olympic team’s provisional qualification mark.
After picking up her medal, Isobel explained: “I am over the moon to have won the Championships. There were some great contenders for the title so I am delighted to have been able to pull out a good performance when it really mattered and to have done the University proud!
“With the Olympic qualification standards as they are I could earn a place on the team with only a 4cm improvement on my personal best, and I have four months in order to achieve this. Selection takes place in early July, with the Olympic Trials in late June, so for me it's just a case of training hard and hoping that the rewards will come in time for London.”
The University’s sports department, which is aiming to be ‘The Academic University of Choice’ for talented sports-people over the coming years, provide Isobel with a bursary to help her balance her academic and sporting commitments.
Nigel Mayglothling, Assistant Director of Sport said the department are delighted with her success. He explained: “Our University has a proud tradition of supporting academic students in pursuit of Olympic glory and we will continue to support Isobel in every way possible towards London 2012 and the Road to Rio for 2016.
“Isobel is still very young in high-jumping terms so the future is clearly bright and we're looking forward to her competing for us again in the BUCS Outdoors event in the Olympic Stadium this June - hopefully only a warm-up event for her to compete there again later in the year.”
Whatever happens this summer Isobel is looking ahead to a bright future in the sport and in the classroom.
She said: “Without sounding boastful or cocky I am confident that I will break the British Record (1.95m) one day. My success so far has been remarkable and I'm still very young in high-jump terms - jumpers are at their prime in their late 20s so I have plenty of years left in the game!
“Obviously my height is an advantage, something I inherited from my Dad - he's 6ft10 and I'm 6ft3, and I know that I have the drive and the commitment to go all the way.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…
The University of Nottingham sports bursaries are intended to help athletes offset training and event costs, while providing a mentor to help reconcile academic and elite sport requirements, individually tailored strength and conditioning support and insights on a wide range of life-skill areas including sports physiotherapy, psychology and nutrition, all key elements to success.
Photo by Doug Harding