Varsity team heads off to the Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth 1The University’s strong presence on the international sporting stage is set to continue as a student, a member of staff and a graduate prepare to compete in next month’s Commonwealth Games.

The three University affiliates will compete for Scotland at the 2010 Games, which take place in Delhi in northern India from 3 to 14 October.

Following her recent success at the European Championships in which she secured a triple medal haul, Sport and Exercise student and RGU: SPORT scholar Hannah Miley is tipped for further success at the Delhi Games.

Hannah (21), who hails from Inverurie and is supported by Aberdeen City and Shire through the RGU: SPORT scholarship programme, has gone from strength to strength since her first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, when she came in fourth place in the 400m Individual Medley.  Since then she has achieved medal positions at domestic, European and international levels. 

With sound guidance from her coach and father, Patrick, Hannah is currently choosing which events to compete in, though hopes are particularly high for her performance in the 400m (having posted the world’s fastest time in 2010 so far) and 200m Individual Medleys.   

Hannah said, “I have been working really hard over the last few months, and the Commonwealth Games was always a big focus for the year.  It’s always such a great honour to represent Scotland at an event like this.”

The 2010 Games are of particular significance for a member of University staff.  Aimee Clark (25), who works as a Sports Assistant and Volunteer Co-ordinator at the University’s RGU: SPORT facility, has been selected to play for the Scottish Women’s Field Hockey Team.  The centre forward was previously selected to play at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, but wasn’t able to compete due to rupturing her right anterior cruciate ligament during a four nations tournament in South Africa. 

Originally from Elgin and now living on Merkland Lane, Aberdeen, Aimee has competed for Scotland at every age group from Under 16 to Under 21, and now as a member of the Senior Women’s team.  She has competed in many prestigious tournaments throughout the world, including the European Championships, Celtic Cup, the Junior World Cup and in Senior World Cup Qualifiers. 

“I was heart-broken to have missed out on the 2006 Games,” said Aimee.  “As such, I was delighted when the 2010 squad was announced.  I couldn’t sleep that night as I am so excited at what lies ahead.  I feel like the last four years have all been worth it, even though at times it has been a real struggle.

“My colleagues at RGU: SPORT could not have been more supportive”, she continued. “They have helped me out with swapping and covering any shifts, and are always keen to know how I am getting on. Our target is to finish top 5 but I hope we come back with a medal.”

Leigh FawcettPhysiotherapy graduate, RGU: SPORT scholar and fellow teammate of Aimee, Leigh Fawcett (24), will also represent Scotland on the hockey pitch in October.  The cup-winning right back, who originally comes from Denmore Park, Bridge of Don, considers competing in the Games to be a lifetime goal. 

After graduating from the University in 2007 with a BSc in Physiotherapy, Leigh won a scholarship to study an MSc in Exercise Science at Syracuse University (New York) in 2008. 

The former RGU Sportsperson of the Year has enjoyed a very successful career on the pitch.  Highlights include competing in the 2005 Junior World Cup, winning the Celtic Cup in 2008 and 2009, and coming in second place in the World Cup qualifiers earlier this April. 

With the Games so close, Leigh has upped her training regime to full time, taking a career break from her position at NHS Grampian where she works as a Junior Physiotherapist.  

She said, “From a young age, representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games has been my goal. To be able to fulfil this, is a dream come true, and I am delighted to represent all the coaches and staff that have helped me get here.”

Referring to her experiences at Robert Gordon University, she added: “Without the support of all involved with the RGU: SPORT scholarship scheme, I would not have been able to balance my physiotherapy studies with my ever demanding training schedule. The training was tailored to my individual needs and the one-to-one coaching was invaluable. The support continues even as a graduate and the programme has been, without a doubt, a significant contributor to my selection for the Commonwealth Games.”

Filippo Antoniazzi is Director of Sport at RGU: SPORT.  He commented, “The University is extremely proud that Hannah, Aimee and Leigh will be waving both the Scottish and Robert Gordon University flags in Delhi. As a current scholar Hannah is proving that you can combine success in the international arena whilst studying for a degree. Leigh has maintained a relationship with the University even though she graduated a number of years ago, whilst Aimee is our first employee to attend a major games. All three are tremendous ambassadors for the University and we wish them every success in Delhi.”

Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer

Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389