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LSE's finest athletes named sporting ambassadors for 2014

LSE has expanded its Sports Ambassadors programme to nurture some of the country’s finest young athletes in their quest for sporting glory.

Sports-Ambassadors140-pixelsThirteen students excelling in fields as diverse as rowing, fencing, rugby and karate have been named LSE Sports Ambassadors this year, winning grants from the Annual Fund as well as in-kind support to balance their sporting commitments and academic work.

The ambassadors are: Ollie Cook (rowing); Marcus Mepstead (fencing); Chris Anguelov (tennis); Tom Johnson (judo); Luca Lixi (hockey); James Frewin (fencing); Rebecca Windemer (triathlon); Alex Lundberg (rugby); Alexander Lushnikov (karate); Jennifer Arthur (rowing); Wong Ying Kei Vivian (taekwondo); Josh Alexander-Passe (pole vault) and Amol Raftan (fencing).

Among the cohort are current and potential world champions in their age groups (see individual bios), all representing their country and many with strong Olympic prospects.

In congratulating the athletes, LSE Deputy Director and Provost, Professor Stuart Corbridge said the School had an obligation to help students achieve their sporting and scholastic dreams.

“These students are all performing at extraordinarily high levels in their respective sports. Being able to combine academic studies and elite sports takes tremendous discipline and ability. We should do all we can as an institution to support them,” he said.

Sports-logo-140-pixelsProfessor Corbridge said LSE was renowned for its academic prowess more than its sporting successes, but said the new scheme would encourage more students with sporting talent to consider applying to LSE.

Ollie Cook, who instigated the programme in 2012, almost gave up his rowing career while studying for his BA in International Relations and History because of difficulties juggling his training sessions with study commitments.

“It was so tough trying to balance it all: waking up at 5am, cycling 10 miles to the rowing club for a session, getting to classes by 9am and then repeating my training session in the afternoon. I was very, very close to quitting rowing,” he said.

But thanks to the support of his coaches and family, Ollie found a way – and he decided to make it easier for other LSE elite sports students in the same situation. He approached Matt de Jesus from the Students’ Union to see what could be done – and the rest is history.

Through LSE’s Annual Fund, De Jesus secured £30,000 for marketing and developing the Sports Ambassador Scheme, which has now expanded from three to 13 students.

Annual grants from £500 to £3,000 are awarded to students based on their sporting achievements and programme criteria.

Funds are provided for things like training camps, physiotherapy, travelling costs and equipment. A degree of flexibility is then factored-in relating to academic commitments and exam periods so a balance between the two can be achieved.

In return, the students take on the role of LSE Sports Ambassadors, representing the School at major sporting events and promoting the value of the scheme on campus.

For more details about the program and its eligibility criteria, contact Natasha Cabral from the LSE Students’ Union at N.C.Cabral@lse.ac.uk or 020 7107 5190.

January 28, 2014