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Worcester Student Selected to Represent England in Commonwealth Games

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A University of Worcester student has been selected to represent England in next month’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Fiona Clarke, who is studying for a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Sport, Coaching and Physical Education, achieved the qualifying distance for the women’s F38 category long jump competition, which will take place on the opening day of track and field competition, July 27, at Hampden Park.

Fiona’s event is one of several para-sport disciplines that are integrated into the Commonwealth programme, meaning the 19 year-old Birchfield Harrier will be representing her country alongside the likes of double Olympic champion Mo Farah, World Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty and London 2012 long jump champion Greg Rutherford, all of whom have also been selected in the 129-strong English track and field team.

Fiona says: “I can’t really put into words how I’m feeling at the moment, I’m just completely over the moon. It’s easily my biggest achievement to date and now I’m determined to go there and make the team proud.

“I achieved the qualifying standard within the designated time limit, so I was automatically selected. My ambition – and the condition on which I was selected – is to go there and finish within the top eight, which is the goal of every athlete selected for Team England.

“I don’t have many competitions between now and the Games, so I can focus completely on my training.”

Fiona, who has cerebral palsy, is part of the University of Worcester’s Elite Athlete Mentor Scheme, which looks to support students juggling their studies with high-level competition.

The students are able to benefit not only from one-to-one support and advice from the University’s experts, but also from the facilities at the University of Worcester Arena, which has established itself as a centre of excellence for disability sport in this country.

Fiona continues: “The backing I’ve received has been brilliant and everyone has supported me tremendously. Charlotte Beaman and Christian Edwards, the Elite Athlete Mentors, have helped me greatly and have given me some really useful advice which stood me in good stead ahead of the Games.”