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Press release


  • 4 August 2005
  • Olympic hopefuls combine sport and study at the University of Sussex


    David Stone

    David Stone

    At the moment all eyes might be fixed on London and the 2012 Olympic Games, but two of the University of Sussex's budding sports stars are looking further east towards 2008 and Beijing.

     

    David Stone, an undergraduate studying Social Work and Social Care, has already won gold in the cycling team sprint at the Cerebral Palsy World Championships in New York this year, and is seen as a contender for the next Paralympics, which will be hosted alongside the main games in China.

     

    David, 23, whose condition affects movement and coordination, began cycling as part of physiotherapy treatment to help improve his posture. It became a passion and he has gone on to specialise in road races of up 60km.

    So promising are David's abilities that not only has he gained a £1,000 annual University of Sussex Sports Bursary but he also has a place on the Government-backed Talented Athlete Support Scheme, a programme of funding and enhanced support to nurture future medal winners.

     

    This month (August) David competes in the trike event in Holland, where he will swap two wheels for three and judge if it's this event he will aim for at the 2008 Paralympics.

     

    Although focussed on the Beijing Olympics, he was also thrilled by the news that London will host the 2012 games. "It would be great to compete in my home country," he says.

     

    Laurence Halstead

    Laurence Halstead

    As for his academic career, David, from Kidderminister, says: "I would like to incorporate sport into by my social work degree and practice, as I feel the physical and mental benefits of sport at any level are enormous."

     

    Meanwhile, Laurence Halsted, a 21-year-old Social Psychology undergraduate, is already ranked among the top five of Britain's fencers and is seen as a medal hope for both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics.

     

    Like David, Laurence was awarded a Sussex Sports Bursary, which gives him a training fund, access to sports facilities free of charge and dedicated support from sports staff.

     

    The investment is paying off.  He has been picked to represent Great Britain at the World University Summer Games in Turkey this year (August 7-24) - one of a whirlwind of international dates that will take Laurence from Denmark to Cuba and even China itself.

     

    Laurence, whose parents both competed as fencers in two Olympics, says London winning the games means a great deal to him: "If I stay in the British team I'm hopeful I can qualify for it, but before that, of course I'll try my hardest to qualify for Beijing. Two Olympics are twice as good as one."

     

    Luke Terrill, the University's sports development officer, administers the bursary scheme and is Laurence's and David's sporting mentor. He says the bursaries offered to sporting students are paying dividends: "We have a good package here at Sussex, competing with some of the top sporting universities, and this means we are attracting better athletes, like Laurence and David."

     

    He shares the two students' hopes that they will be standing on the winners' podiums. "Both of them could be right up there in the medals at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012," says Luke. "They are great role models for sport and Sussex and they really show that sport is for everyone."

     

    Notes for editors 

    For more information and photos, please contact the University Press Office, Jacqui Bealing, or Maggie Clune, 01273 678888, press@sussex.ac.uk

     

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