Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu Search the University of Manchester siteSearch

Alternatively, use our A–Z index

Sports Stars Graduate in Life Sciences

11 Jul 2012

One of Britain’s top rowers, a leading Badminton player and an international downhill mountain biker will be among the Life Sciences students graduating from the University of Manchester this week.

Graeme Thomas Rowing
Graeme Thomas Rowing

Their successes in both the world of sport and Life Sciences are a testament not only to their drive and determination but also to the support offered by the university.

With up to 30 hours of training a week the elite athletes also have to attend lectures, seminars and lab sessions in their demanding subjects. The support network offered by their tutors, Faculty staff and the Sports Scholarship Scheme has proved vital in ensuring they stay on top of their sport and their degree.

Biomedical Sciences graduate and rower Graeme Thomas is ranked 5th in the country after competing in the Great Britain’s Men’s Single Scull Trials in March. He’s just one place outside of the Olympic quad. Amazingly Graeme was a rugby player when he joined the university and only took up rowing during his first year as part of the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme sponsored by Siemens.

Graeme says: “Balancing sport and a degree is difficult, especially rowing, as it is a particularly time consuming sport. There is little time for anything else but it’s the choice I made and I love doing it. The network of support the Manchester Sports Scholarship opened up to me has been really beneficial. It’s always great to be around people in the same boat and share tips and tricks, whether it’s about diet, a quiet area of the university gym or just to appreciate that we’re all juggling a lot of work with a lot of training.”

The University of Manchester’s Sports Scholarship Scheme provides a range of support for students including funding for free gym access, physiotherapy sessions, lifestyle support and strength and conditioning coaching.

Imogen Williams the University’s Sport Development Manager says: “The level of dedication and commitment that I have witnessed from these athletes over the last couple of years is truly inspiring. They demonstrate that it is possible to balance academic studies with a successful sporting career and I have no doubt that they will succeed in whatever they choose to do after graduation. Their futures are very bright and we are extremely proud of their achievements.”

Within the Faculty of Life Sciences students have been encouraged to take up sport to improve their chances of finding employment after graduation.

Dr Liz Sheffield, the Faculty’s Deputy Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and Students explains: “The skills our students develop taking part in sports complement their academic work. As well as our elite athletes we have students who run sports groups, arranging tournaments and trips for hundreds of people. They learn vital employable skills that we can’t teach them in a lecture”.

Students in the Faculty of Life Sciences will graduate on Friday 13th July in the Whitworth Hall at the University of Manchester.

 

Graduate Details:

Jamie Bonsels
Degree: Bio-medical Science (First Class Honours)
Sport: Badminton, Badminton World Federation Ranking, 216
Home Town: Harrogate

“I have had some excellent support, especially from the staff at the University of  Manchester. If it was not for these people giving their time and support I would not be in the position I am now.”


Graeme Thomas
Degree: Bio-medical Science (Third Class Honours)
Sport: Rowing, ranked 4th in Men’s Single Scull Munich World Rowing Championships and 5th at GB Senior Team Trials. Great Britain. 
Awards: Shortlisted for 2012 British Universities and Colleges Sport Sportsman of the Year.
Home Town: Preston

“Balancing sport and a degree is difficult especially in rowing which is a time consuming sport. There’s little time for anything else but it’s the choice I made and I love doing it. The network of support the Manchester Sports Scholarship opened up to me has been really beneficial. It’s always great to be around people in the same boat and share tips and tricks, whether it’s about diet, a quiet area of the university gym to get a session done or just to appreciate that we’re all juggling a lot of work with a lot of training.”
 
Jack Reading
Degree: Masters in Optometry (Upper Second Honours)
Sport: Downhill Mountain Biking (World Cup Downhill, Ranking 58th)
Home Town: Huddersfield

“You have to be completely focused on what you want to achieve from both areas in order to succeed.  The Faculty have been very understanding and supportive in helping me balance racing life with University, such as getting exam timetables adjusted so I can fit in trips abroad to important events and still attend all of my exams.
 

Current Sport Scholars:

Max Drakeley
Degree: Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology with Industrial / Professional Experience
Sport: Ice Hockey (Spending next academic year in America)

Charlie Amesbury
Degree: Biology
Sport: Rugby Union (Plays for the Sale Sharks)

Claire Shutler
Degree: Biochemistry with Industrial / Professional Experience
Sport: Rugby Union (Has been playing for the North of England Ladies Squad and trialled for England U20’s.)
 

Notes for editors

Notes to Editors:

Jamie Bonsels will be available for interviews during graduation on Friday July 13th at the University of Manchester. To arrange interviews please contact the press office.

Photos of all the athletes are available from the press office. Please contact:

Morwenna Grills
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Manchester

0161 275 2111
07920 087466
Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk