Cardiff Metropolitan University has celebrated its most accomplished sports stars with an enhanced scholarship programme now available at the University.
The University's Athletic Union awarded sporting scholarships for a number of years to Cardiff Met's elite athletes, but this year more scholarships than ever were awarded thanks to an extended recognition scheme since the development of a Director of Cardiff Met Sport role at the university last year.
Since launching, the number of scholarships has risen from 12 to over 50 with scholars from a variety of courses outside the School of Sport being recognised and included in the programme.
Awards of £500, £700 and £1000 were distributed to current Cardiff Met students who applied for the funding through their appropriate Performance Directors or directly to the Athletics Union in the case of individual sports such as karate, boxing and cycling.
Many of those selected will also benefit from University-funded private medical insurance, which is worth in the region of £300, as well as free gym membership.
The University is consistently ranked within the top 20 universities in BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sports) league tables and a breakfast ceremony was held to honour the University's sporting stars who help Cardiff Met maintain their record.
Mike Davies, Chief Executive of the Student Union, paid tribute to the University's 1,000 Athletics Union members, with Cardiff Met's Athletic Union being the best in Wales. The recipients of this year's awards compete in 15 different key sports including Rugby, Netball, Triathlon, Boxing, Karate, Cycling and Squash.
Dave Cobner, Cardiff Met's Director of Sport, praised Cardiff Met students and Alumni, particularly the many who contributed to this year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games in general, as well as to Team Wales' success. Of over 50 current and past Team Wales students, Ieuan Lloyd (Swimming), Mica Moore (Athletics) and Bethan Dyke (Netball) all received scholarships. Cardiff Met Alumni and Olympic Gold Medallist Lynn Davies thanked students for their huge contribution to university life and to Cardiff Met's sporting excellence.
Squash player Hannah Davies has represented Wales since she was 12 and won her first senior cap at the European Team Championships three years ago. She played both World and European Championships at junior and senior level and became U19 European number 2 during the 2010/2011 season. The 21-year-old from Wrexham said: ""It is a great feeling knowing that squash as a minority sport has been recognised and for me to be considered one on the best sports people within the whole of Cardiff Met University.
Being a sports scholar at Cardiff Met has allowed me to become part of a team within the South Wales leagues and most importantly the BUCS league, which is a new experience for me. This is a particular aspect which has aided in the development of my game since becoming a student as the leagues are very strong and the standard is extremely high in the BUCS premier division.
Hannah was also Welsh Number one in the U15, U17 and U19 girls' categories and is currently number 3 in Wales' senior team, behind two professional players. She added: "I hope to medal at both the team and individual championships this year as a 'thank you' for the continued support from all at Cardiff Met. "
Current Cardiff Met RFC captain Guy Wood has three caps for England Students 2014 and played for Wairarapa Bush 1st XV, New Zealand and GB Universities 7s team, which medalled Gold at the World Championships in Brazil last year, which was funded by the University.
22-year-old Guy, from the Isle of Man said: "Cardiff Met has a great history of turning out elite athletes so I am very proud to receive a sporting scholarship here.
"Experiencing a nasty injury this year has enabled me to experience the network of support offered within the scholarship and has been crucial to my recovery. The quality of coaching on the field and in the gym at Cardiff Met RFC is outstanding and has been a massive part of my development as a rugby player.
"Competing in the Welsh championship as well as Wednesday BUCS A league fixtures has given me a lot of match experience that I would not have received at other Universities."