Good luck to all athletes and sport science staff from the LJMU community as they ready themselves for the Commonwealth Games 2022, starting in Birmingham this week.
Our homepage features athletes Emily Borthwick (high jump), Harry Coppell (pole vault), Sarah Malone (4x100m relay), Eleanor Cardwell (Netball), Laura Malcolm (Netball), Nathan Maguire (T54 wheelchair racing), Jonny Mellor (marathon) and Osian Jones (hammer).
Current student competing for Scotland
Current Sport Scholar Sarah Malone, studying MSc Nutrition, will represent Scotland in the 4x100m relay in her debut appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
Sarah has been supported by LJMU’s expert Performance Sport staff as part of her scholarship. Alongside her studies she’s had weekly strength and conditioning, nutrition and physiotherapy sessions as well as access to a personal development program. This holistic approach has contributed to her outstanding performance this year and selection for her national relay team.
Dave McDermott, Head of Elite Sport & Athlete Management and Sport Scholarship Manager, said: “We are incredibly proud of all our current and alumni LJMU Sport Scholars, they have all overcome challenges and adversity during their careers to reach the international stage and we are all wishing them a memorable Commonwealth Games and a performance of a lifetime.”
LJMU alumni sport stars representing their nations
Emily Borthwick, a Wigan & District athlete and former LJMU Sport Scholar, competes in the high jump for Team England in her Commonwealth debut, hoping to better her 16th place finish in last year’s Olympic Games.
Harry Coppell, another former LJMU Sport Scholar and British Champion, competes for Team England in the pole vault in his debut Games following a 7th place finish at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021.
Birkenhead’s Jonny Mellor, long-distance runner with Team New Balance Manchester and former LJMU Sport Scholar, will take part in the marathon on Saturday 30 July. He’s the only male runner selected to represent Team England in the event. He spoke to us for our 1823 podcast, discussing injuries, opportunities and ice baths. Listen to the podcast episode.
Team England netball will have two former LJMU Sport Scholars on its squad. Shooter Eleanor Cardwell and midcourter Laura Malcolm will both make their Commonwealth Games debut and hope to defend Commonwealth gold that the previous team won in 2018, by defeating then hosts Australia in the final.
Paralympic silver medallist Nathan Maguire will race in the T54 wheelchair event with Team England. The former Sport Scholar is competing in his second Games and will be hoping to build a medal collection as vast as that of his fiancé, fellow wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft.
And finally, another former LJMU Sport Scholar Osian Jones represents Team Wales in the hammer. He’ll be striving to better his 7th place finish at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Dr Rebecca Murphy, Interim Director of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, said: “We would like to wish all athletes competing in the Commonwealth Games the very best of luck, and in particular those athletes who represent our LJMU community. We are extremely proud of our staff and alumni who are working to provide Sport Science support at the Games.”
Behind the scenes supporting the athletes
It’s not just the athletes that LJMU is proud to have connections with. Both current members of staff and many alumni are sharing their expertise in a variety of back-room roles, pivotal to ensuring athletes perform at their best.
Cardiovascular physiology expert and echocardiographer, Dr David Oxborough, has supported both the England netball squad and many top home nation cyclists ahead of the competition through pre-participation cardiac screening. Dr Oxborough’s research studies and clinical impact activities have provided insight into the normal ranges of the athletes’ heart whilst also excluding individuals from any underlying cardiac disease, ensuring that the athletes venturing to Birmingham are given a clean bill of cardiac health.
Dr Tabo Huntley, an experienced performance leader and strategist with active research in the field of Paralympic and disability sport, has undertaken workshops through ParaCoach to support a whole host of athletes from across the Commonwealth nations.
Alumni Philip Lew is providing sport psychology support to the Malaysian lawn bowling squad in Leamington Spa, Birmingham. Prof Zoe Knowles, who taught Philip during his MSc Sport Psychology at LJMU, said: “He has stayed connected to staff and students since graduating, supporting student online events and visiting the city to meet with staff whenever he is back in the UK. It is great to see how he has developed from his studies with us and into a role with the National Sports Institute of Malaysia. I wish him and his athletes all the very best for the Commonwealth Games!”
Pictured: Philip Lew (navy tracksuit with red trainers) with the Malaysian lawn bowling squad
Other sport science and Sport Scholar internship alumni at the Games include James Hooper who has supported home nations athletes from both GB boxing and para table tennis as a performance lifestyle coach. Chris Lynch works with the cycling team for Australia in a wellbeing and engagement role. Fiona Pimblett, former Olympian and LJMU Sport Scholar has offered her expertise to cyclists working with British Cycling ahead of the Games.
Follow LJMU’s messages of support for our Commonwealth connected athletes and staff:
LJMU is ranked as one of the top 10 best universities in the world for sports-related subjects by the global QS higher education league table.