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James Receives Scholarship to Aid World Championship Bid

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A student from Warrington has been awarded a university scholarship to help fund his participation in this summer’s World Dragon Boat Championships.

James Williams, who is studying Occupational Therapy at the University of Worcester, is part of the Great Britain squad which will compete at the Championships in Canada in August.

James, 19, has been awarded financial assistance by the University’s Scholarship Panel, which benefits students who undertake extra-curricular activities in areas such as sport, music and the arts, as well as volunteering projects.

He explains: “I took up Dragon Boating at the age of eight, and I was first selected for the Great Britain under-18 team in 2010. Since then, I have performed at European and World Championships with the under-18s, and we became the most successful Great Britain junior team ever when we won four golds and one silver medal during the 2012 European Championships.

“I was selected for the Premier squad for last year’s European Championships, and I will be going to the Worlds with them in August.”

Dragon boating – which typically sees teams made up of 20 paddlers, one sweep and one drummer competing over sprint or endurance distances - originated in ancient China, but is practiced across the world.

This summer’s World Championships, which will take place in Ontario, will be the 12th such competition hosted by the International Dragon Boat Federation, and James says that the university scholarship awarded to him will help ensure that he is in peak shape ahead of the event.

“The scholarship will enable me to devote more time to training and help with the cost of my flight and train tickets. It also means that I can ensure I will have sufficient funds to buy the correct diet to allow me to get to my peak condition.

“I am very pleased to be receiving this funding from the University. Even though I compete in a minority sport, the University has still chosen to support me, which I wouldn’t have necessarily expected them to do.”