Student, sport scholar and cross country skiing champion, Peter-James (PJ) Barron is once again set to compete on the international sporting stage this month.
PJ (21), who competes for Ireland and was brought up in Huntly, will compete in four races at the World University Winter Games 2011 which will be held in Turkey's eastern province of Erzurum from 27 January – 6 February.
He will compete in the 10k Classic, Freestyle Sprint, 15k Pursuit and 30k Freestyle.
The World University Games (or the Universiade as it is also known – a combination of the words ‘University’ and ‘Olympiad’) take place every second year and comprises summer and winter games, taking place in two different cities each time. This year, the summer games will be held in Shenzhen, China.
A keen cyclist and photographer, PJ was introduced to cross country skiing by friends and, at 13, joined the Huntly Junior Development Squad. His interest and skill continued to grow, leading him to join the British Nordic Development Squad where he began competing and representing the UK and Ireland in a string of international events.
In the last three years he has represented Ireland at one World Junior Championships, one Under 23 World Championships, one World Championships and at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February last year.
His training for the Universiade has consisted of a mixture of on-snow and gym-based programmes. Ironically, the heavy snowfall has proven to be a slight hindrance to his training as the roads have been treacherous and the running trails icy. As such, he has compensated with intervals on the Turbo trainer and running with poles.
PJ studies Sports and Exercise Science at Robert Gordon University, where he is supported by the Sport Scholarship Programme. The Scholarship Programme provides him with a range of tailor-made programmes designed to suit his individual needs, including strength and conditioning sessions, financial assistance and lifestyle management. Like all other sport scholars accepted into the programme, he has full access to the £10 million plus state-of-the-art sports facility, RGU: SPORT, located in the heart of the University’s Garthdee campus.
PJ said: “I’m really looking forward to the Games as I feel in good shape. It’s been over a month since I raced and so it will be great to get back to it. I will have finished my exams by the time I leave so that’s something to look forward to also!”
Regarding his hopes for the competition, he concluded: “I have some goals in mind, largely to do the best that I can. Other than that I prefer to keep them close to my chest just between me and my coach, Roy Young”.
Neil Brown is Sports Programme Manager at Robert Gordon University:
“We are proud to be instrumental in PJ’s training and success, and wish him all the best for his most recent international competition. Over the years he has consistently shown himself to be an extremely strong talent and I share his excitement at the prospect of competing in the Winter Universiade.”
Following his appearance at the World University Games, PJ will compete in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, taking place from the 23 February – 6 March. He will compete in the Sprint and Pre qualification Time Trial.
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262389