Teamwork makes sporting dreams work with elite athlete scholarship

Date 25.11.2022

Teamwork is making sporting dreams work, thanks to a University of Northampton (UON) scholarship programme celebrating its first birthday.

Each year, The Northampton Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship gives up to 15 UON students from any subject area who are already competing at county-standard level or above a programme of dedicated advice and support from a team of UON experts informed by the latest research to help them improve their game.

This network of professional insight and knowledge includes performance testing with state-of-the-art equipment, free treatment at UON’s Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Clinic, nutrition workshops, media training and more.

PhD student Siobhán Hyland is one of the first cohort, and her specialist sport is weightlifting. She says: “I have benefitted immensely from the scholarship program. It has helped reduce injuries, as I am working on strength and conditioning far more than before. With these sessions, I train with my Olympic Weightlifting coach and finely hone my strength in specific areas.

“It has been great to have the input of the coaches, as they all have skills and expertise in different areas, so that has really helped to help me become a better athlete. At the end of last year, I competed in the British Open Series, and came 2nd in my age/weight category. I was 4kg off Gold! I was so happy with that, but it has made me determined to train harder to try for a higher placing.

“I have been a more consistent athlete, and my weights are going up, and it has been interesting to do some of the scientific testing. It was great to see how I match up with other athletes too. I have made good friends in the program, and it really helps meeting other students with the same pressures as you. For example, handing in an important piece of work and then competing in a national contest a few days later!”

This year, 14 new recruits (below) look to follow in Siobhan’s footsteps with enhanced support for sports such as football, rhythmic gymnastics, snowboarding and trampolining.

Northampton Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship students 2022

The 2022 Scholars are:

  • Kimberley Green (trampoline)
  • Isobel McDonald (football)
  • Matthew Debenham (swimming)
  • Liam Crossman (distance running)
  • Sophie Smith (snow sports)
  • Isa Mohammed (Rugby League)
  • Jacob Solonga (Rugby Union)
  • Chloe Martin (football)
  • Trystan Barnett (triathlon)
  • Mihails Lucenko (football)
  • Shayna Dornan (gymnastics)
  • Alice Freeman (equestrianism)
  • Zaine McKenzie (ice hockey)
  • Favour Omenazu (football).