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National report highlights University’s Olympic expertise

The University of Chichester’s contribution to this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games has been acknowledged in a national report endorsed by Seb Coe.
The West Sussex institution has a well-established Olympic heritage dating back to the 1988 Seoul Games, and continues to be involved in the training and preparation of Olympic athletes ahead of London 2012.

The report – Olympic and Paralympic Games: The impact of universities – looks at universities, the Olympic Games and sport. It showcases the diverse contribution that higher education is making to the 2012 Games across numerous areas.

It was commissioned to mark Universities Week, which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities. In it, the University’s role in the West Sussex Partnership for the 2012 Games is highlighted. The group will welcome teams from Barbados, Grenada, the Bahamas, Dominica and Finland to the county for their pre-Games training camps. Through the partnership, the teams will be able to access sports science support from the University.

The report also highlights one expert based at the University who has used his expertise to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Sports physiologist Dr Marcus Smith attended the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games as part of the Great Britain Boxing Team and subsequently played a central role in the preparation of amateur boxers for the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Olympic Games.

Professor Clive Behagg, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chichester, said: “While I am delighted that our expertise in sport has been recognised, this report only tells part of our story.

“Every GB sailing medal winner for the past four Olympic Games has undertaken part of their training here, and we continue to prepare sailors for London 2012 through work funded by the RYA. All of the squad come to Chichester for regular fitness assessments and general sports science input.

“We are also going to be cheering on one of our own this summer. Ben Quilter is currently studying for his Masters in Sport and Exercise Physiology. He is also a double world judo champion and is the number one seed going into the Paralympic Games in his class.”

Dr Sarah Gilroy, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and former England hockey coach, added: “Those selected for Team GB this summer also proved we are a successful breeding ground for Olympic talent. Saskia Clark, who graduated in 2003, has been selected for the Skandia Team GB sailing team in the Women’s 470 class, while teacher training graduate Emma Wiggs will be captaining the Great Britain Women’s Sitting Volleyball team in the Paralympics.”

Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, said: “I am delighted to be supporting Universities Week 2012 which is celebrating the Higher Education sector’s engagement with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Universities have been essential to London 2012; through the provision of expertise, facilities, volunteers and many of Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s potential medal hopefuls.”

A copy of the report can be accessed online at: http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Pages/OlympicandParalympicGamestheimpactofuniversities.aspx

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