The University of Sheffield’s finest young athletes celebrated their successes at the Elite Sports Performance Dinner on Tuesday.
Level One of ESPS provides support services such as physiotherapy, free access to the S10health fitness centre, strength and conditioning training and academic flexibility.
Recipients of Level Two can even gain a one year’s free stay at accommodation, as well as all the benefits of the previous rank.
Nine athletes won Level Two awards from sports such as Hockey and Para-Badminton while over 50 triumphed at the level one stage.
The event at Inox Dine in the Students’ Union included alumni Olympic Trampoline Silver Medallist Bryony Page.
She said: “The past few months have been a bit crazy. I went down to the House of Commons and spoke to Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport.
“After finishing fourth twice at World and European Championships I was so happy to achieve my Olympic dream. To step on the podium, I can’t describe that feeling.
“Even though I’ve graduated the support I’ve received from Sheffield University has been fantastic.”
Director of Sport at the university Andy Cox opened the night and said: “The athletes here have showcased their talent across their 320 sports. We have some outstanding facilities here and for the last 20 years we have been in the top 20 universities for sport in the country.”
“We never thought we could replicate the Olympic success of Jess [Ennis] but Bryony and Holly [Webb] have been outstanding and we are so proud of her achievements.”
Level Two Award Recipients:
Nicole Lamb – Rowing
Nicole Lamb is a first-year student who studies medicine. Her lectures take place from 9am-5pm so to perform at training she leaves her flat at 6am and doesn’t return until 8pm. Speaking to Forge Sport Nicole said her greatest achievement so far was achieving two silvers and a bronze in the U23 World Championships for Team GB. She’s had trials all year, bucs at the end of the season and a competition in Argentina next summer. Her advice to success? Early mornings
Rosie Wilkins – Rowing
Rosie Wilkins studies landscape and architecture. Her early mornings start on the water, but end the day in the gym and with physiotherapy. Training took her to the Peak District where she looked to improve her event, the single sculls. Rosie made the semi-final of the women’s single sculls at Henley Women’s last year. In the short term her aim is to claim varsity points but rowing championships in Argentina is the ultimate aim.
Connor Byrne – Climbing
Connor Byrne a lead, speed and boulder climber who said it would be truly amazing to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020. He’s been a five-time national champion and has been selected for the British team. Studying aero-engineering Connor has had to juggle up academia and sport, sacrificing social time to work on his course and fitness.
Jennifer Wood – Climbing
Jennifer Wood is a lead and boulder climber, but due to the Olympics she’s now starting speed. Last year we went to the University Open Games and The World University Championships. The latter was in Shanghai, where they practiced the new Olympic format. Jennifer came fourth in the combined discipline and reached all of the finals. Her ultimate aim is Tokyo 2020.
Rebecca Bedford – Para-Badminton
Rebecca Bedford is a gold and two-time silver medallist at Para-Badminton, having achieved the feat at last year’s World Championships in Stoke Mandeville. Studying history, she takes all work with her on travels. Funding from the ESPS has allowed Rebecca to participate in competitions, take time out for physiotherapy and train eight hours a week with state of the art facilities
Tommy Horton – Athletics
Tommy Horton is currently studying a PhD at the University of Sheffield. His schedule is hectic as he goes to the gym three times a week and practices running every other day. Aiming for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, Tommy put much of the praise to the ESPS scheme and his coach Bashir Hussain.
Steve Bayton – Athletics
Steve Bayton won the Manchester Marathon last May in a time of two hours, 22 minutes. He’s training for the winter. Like Tommy he’s aiming for the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and with the monetary ESPS award physiotherapy and kit is no problem. Studying a civil engineering PhD has meant Steve has had to train on the job, running five miles to campus every day.
Nicholas Hale – Field Hockey
Nicholas Hale studies theoretical engineering, managing to balance his stressful workload with two sets of hockey a week. Not only does Nick play for the University of Sheffield but he is also part of the Sheffield University Bankers side, training on a Monday and Thursday, in-between matches on a Wednesday and Saturday. He says that his busy week means that the ESPS mentor scheme is crucial as they can set up a programme or give advice if the going gets too stressful. Nick hopes to play at a national U21 stage soon and succeed in future hockey trials.
Amber Keegan- Swimming
Amber Keegan is a second-year student studying chemical engineering. She hopes to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the end of year swimming trials. She participates in the 400m medley and 400 and 800m freestyle, the latter her favourite event. Amber started swimming for her club at nine, by 12 was in the national championships before rising to the juniors at 16. She trains for ten sessions a week, mornings and nights every day. The ESPS funding has allowed her to continue a healthy nutritional diet, while improving how she maximises of recovery.