Three athletes from The University of Nottingham are to compete in the 25th Winter Universiade — an event second only to the Olympics as the largest multi-discipline winter sports competition.
Gemma Cooper, Hew Williams and Paul Worth, who all study in the School of Biochemistry, will represent the British University and Colleges (BUCS) team in short track speed skating at the event taking place between 27 January and 6 February in Erzurum, Turkey.
The biennial competition, also known as the World University Winter Games, will feature around 2,900 athletes from more than 50 countries, with Nottingham’s speedsters forming part of a 70-strong British team.
A veteran of National, World and Olympic Games, Paul Worth is no stranger to international competition and is looking forward to testing himself against a strong field in Turkey.
Paul, who will be competing in three individual distances — 500, 1000 and 1500 metres — said: “The standard of competition at the last university games was extremely high. Many countries send their A teams who compete on the world stage, and of those that don’t, many still send national squad members.”
For team-mate Hew Williams the event represents more of a learning experience. He explained: “The standard will be the toughest I've ever faced, there's potential for many of the skaters on the senior world circuit to be there.
“This level of international will help me learn better race strategy as well as giving me the opportunity to see how some of the best compete from an in-race point of view. Realistically it's going to be a huge struggle for me but I hope to get some fantastic experience out of it and get as involved in the races as possible.”
All three athletes receive sports bursaries from the University to help with the cost of training, equipment and attendance at competitions, while their tutors have remained understanding of the balance needed between studying and training.
Hew continued: “The University has been very supportive, granting me extensions for lab reports and accepting that competition does mean I miss some of my lab sessions and lectures. I think with the demands placed on me from my course, this level is currently the limit but after University we'll just have to see.”
Deputy Director of Physical Recreation and Sport at The University of Nottingham, Diane Hardwick, is delighted that the students have been selected for the BUCS team.
She said: “The University continues to attract athletes of an extremely high standard. We are always impressed with the sporting achievements of our students who manage to balance a highly demanding playing and training schedule with their studies.
“We are delighted to be able to support such talented students during their time here through our sports bursary scheme and hope that they will be able to realise their dreams and fulfil their sporting potential, whether that be while they are at University or some at time in the future.”
More information about the Universiade and organising committee FISU can be found at http://www.universiadeerzurum.org/english. Information about the BUCS team can be found at http://www.bucs.org.uk/page.asp?section=15714§ionTitle=Full+Delegation&preview=1.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. 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.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news.
Facts and figures at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/facts/factsandfigures.aspx.
More information on The University of Nottingham’s bursary scheme can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sport/burstim.php.