For 23 elite student athletes from The University of Nottingham, the road to sporting greatness has become a little smoother after being presented with a sports bursary.
The bursaries, which are designed to help recipients balance the demands of training and their course, include money to cover the costs associated with competing. The athletes will also be given free gym membership and access to specialist strength and conditioning facilities, physiotherapy, free cardiac screening and nutritional advice.
While one of the recipients — GB hockey player Harry Martin — competed at London 2012, a number of others have their eyes firmly set on a place at Rio 2016 and the opportunity to emulate the achievements of the University’s growing number of Olympic medallists.
Those athletes did not have far to look for inspiration, after collecting their bursaries from London 2012 Olympic Champion Etienne Stott — one of five graduates who won medals to make Nottingham the most successful English university at this summer’s Games.
After making the presentation, Etienne backed the support on offer and admitted that balancing academia and sport was a challenge both he and C2 Canoe Slalom partner Tim Baillie had to overcome when studying Mechanical Engineering at the University.
He said: “It can be difficult to balance studies and sport. But in the long run, having a back-up plan helps you mentally — it means you have a little bit of a parachute if the results are not coming for you. It can just take the pressure off slightly.
“As usual it boils down to time management, clear goals, priorities and adjusting them as you go depending on the challenges faced in the season and academic year. But people are doing it, all round the world people are finding the necessary balance and excelling and I can say in the long run it didn’t affect us at all badly.
After speaking to the bursars, Etienne explained he was delighted to speak to the recipients having used the bursary to good effect when he was at Nottingham.
He added: “It feels pretty good to be able to inspire others, I am very mindful of all the inspirational moments in my career. If I can help to carry on the thread of inspiration that has run through my career and my life; that is a really cool thing to be a part of.”
Sport for all ethos
If meeting an Olympic gold medallist wasn’t enough, the athletes were also encouraged by Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway, who spoke of the University’s commitment to its ‘sports for all’ philosophy and his pride in the graduates who have gone on to great sporting success.
He said: “We are extremely proud of our students’ sporting achievements as well as those of Etienne and our other London 2012 competitors and medal winners. Sport is very important to this University and nothing gives us greater pleasure than seeing our athletes achieving in BUCS, achieving nationally and representing their national teams.
“We are going to continue to invest in sport at Nottingham with some ambitious plans for both our outdoor and indoor facilities. These developments will support our athletes, whether through university or international competition, as will the inspiration that they take from the success of people at this event today.”
A helping hand
One of the students to benefit from the bursary — Canoe Slalom specialist and Finance, Accounting and Management student Tommy Mortborg, added: “I came to Nottingham because the National Water Sports Centre is on the doorstep, while there have been a number of Nottingham graduates who have gone on to win international medals in my sport. This meant I had a fantastic opportunity to combine my sport with studying at such a prestigious university.
“The bursary has helped to cover costs and given me access to a physio. I have had a few injuries the last couple of years, but the University has a great service — you just call up and they try to fit you in as soon as possible, which has probably been the biggest advantage.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia; according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2012, ‘Of all the British universities, Nottingham has embraced internationalism the most.’ It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK by 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 fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…