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University's Elite Athletes Hoping to Achieve Sporting Success in 2014

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The Winter Olympics, football World Cup and Commonwealth Games are set to ensure that 2014 will be another action-packed sporting year, and the elite athletes currently studying at the University of Worcester are also gearing up for a busy twelve months.

The University supports all students competing at national or international level through its Elite Athlete Mentor scheme, which is led by Charlotte Beaman, Lecturer in Physical Education, and Christian Edwards, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science.

A number of those athletes being supported as part of the scheme are in training for major competitions.

Rugby player Lyndsay O’Donnell is in the frame for selection for the Scotland squad for the upcoming women’s Six Nations tournament, while Dan Geisler (Duathlon) and Amy Stringer (Karate) are both targeting their sports’ respective World Championships later in the year.

American footballer Okko Outinen (pictured) will represent his native Finland in the European Championships in Austria in May, and cricketer Jess Ward has a strong chance of being selected for Wales for October’s indoor World Cup.

Athlete mentors Charlotte and Christian were appointed to their roles in September, and have been tasked with ensuring that each student reaches their potential in both a sporting and academic sense.

Charlotte explains: “We’re really here to make it as straight forward as possible for the athletes to excel in both areas. They have open access to us, we’re here for them as and when they need us and it’s our job to help them meet their goals.

“We sit down and have an initial meeting with them to work out bespoke strategies, then we will monitor aspects of their training like their strength and conditioning work, access to nutritional advice and sports therapy to make sure they are getting the right level of support from the University.

“We have got some incredibly talented young athletes with bright, exciting futures ahead of them.”

Both Charlotte, a former PE teacher, and Christian competed and coached to a high level themselves, and Mick Donovan, Head of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, believes that their ability to relate to the students is also key.

“Charlotte and Christian were ideal for the roles as they have meaningful experiences as student athletes and have been in the students’ shoes,” he explains.

“As a University, we are proud to offer state-of-the-art facilities and quality coaching, but we also recognise our responsibility to nurture young athletes and ensure that neither their academic studies nor their burgeoning careers suffer.”