From Passion to Podium

For one Nottingham sports scholar, your support is giving him the opportunity to set his sights on competing at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. 


At just 23-years-old, James Hazell has some big goals in the pipeline. He’s hopeful about making it to the Paralympics in Paris later this year and to continue his career until at least 2040, when he says the Paralympics could make it back to the UK just in time to round off his career.

Growing up on a farm near Kettering meant wheelchair basketball was not on James’ radar as a child, but as soon as he tried it, 10 years ago, he knew it was the sport for him.

“I’ve always had a mentality of adapting where possible because of being around a farming culture, but when I first started trying different experiences, sport wasn’t something that I enjoyed,” James shared. “That was because of my disability and the stereotypical idea at the time that because you’re disabled you shouldn’t do sport. However, I found the opportunity to get into sport through wheelchair basketball and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Having access to the facilities at the university’s David Ross Sports Village has been another game changer for James. “I would say Nottingham is the best university for disabled people, because of the facilities and funding opportunities in place,” he added.

Being able to train in the high-performance zone and alongside some of the best coaches and personal trainers in the country opened a lot of doors for him in his first few months at Nottingham, and there is so much more to come.

Alongside his master’s degree in international business studies, James plays wheelchair basketball for the University of Nottingham, the Jaguars WBC and Team GB. With such a busy schedule, his scholarship has been enormously important in helping him find a balance between his training and studying, as well as providing financial stability. “Without my scholarship, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be doing this. I still live at home and drive an hour and a half each way three to four days a week because I can’t afford to live in halls or accommodation. Having that support to put towards fuel costs and buying the right foods for my nutrition has been amazing. I would not have progressed to where I am now without it.”

“Thank you so much, without your support and if I wasn’t at Nottingham, I honestly would not have had the opportunity to go to Paris. I wouldn’t have set my dreams on it. It will make my family so proud.”

“The opportunity that you have provided me has made me realise what I’m capable of.”

Without my scholarship, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be doing this.
James Hazell

The University of Nottingham has been fortunate enough to receive a very special gift to inspire future generations of athletes.

Barbara ‘Barb’ Green, paid a visit to the David Ross Sports Village to kindly donate the Olympic torch that she proudly carried through Nottingham in 2012, when London hosted the games.

Barb was nominated to carry the touch by her community for being an exceptional example of community spirit. Whether she was cracking jokes with students during her time as a cleaner in university halls or rallying the troops for a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, Barb has been an endless source of joy.

“11 years ago, I never imagined that I would be carrying the torch out of Nottingham Castle. I was so proud,” she recounted. “Over the past few weeks, my family and friends [who knew how much this meant to me] have been asking, ‘why now?’

“I am growing old, and health issues restrict what I can and can’t do. So now is the right time because I want to inspire others and show them that anyone can do anything.”

Barb’s Olympic Torch is now proudly displayed in the David Ross Sports Village. Thank you, Barb, for passing the torch onto the next generation.