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National accolade for female basketballer 

A female basketball player from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been recognised nationally for her ‘outstanding’ work to boost participation across campus in the sport she loves.

Emilie Fairnington, a graduating Forensic Science BSc (Hons) student received the Innovation Award at a celebration held by the Basketball Foundation in London last month.

Emilie Fairnington

Emilie has been working as a voluntary University Basketball Ambassador, a scheme developed by the foundation aimed at giving students an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in the sports sector.

They do this by managing a range of activities encouraging more students to get involved in recreational basketball opportunities.

Emilie said: “It feels fantastic to be recognised for doing this type of work, as basketball is my passion.

“I loved the opportunity to take responsibility for increasing participation in my sport, particularly with the inclusion of the BME community and Chinese students who have signed up for the sessions.

“When I heard my name read out, I was like ‘oh my god’. I was completely surprised that my work had had such an impact on people in this way.”

Not only has Emilie picked up the award, but her recent application and impressive skill sets have landed her a job as a Graduate Sports Development Assistant with DMU Sport.

Over the past year, Emilie has led recreational sessions through DMU Sports Campus330 and has taken on extensive social media responsibility to raise basketball’s awareness across campus as a whole.

Emilie Fairnington 2

During her three years at DMU she has also held the position at Captain and Secretary of the DMU Pitbulls basketball team.

Emilie ended her three years with a stunning last-ditch Varsity victory over the University of Leicester, playing at the home of the Leicester Riders Basketball Club, the Leicester Arena.

Emilie was nominated for the national award by Sports Project Officer at DMU Jake Betts. He said: “Emilie has been an outstanding Basketball Ambassador and has engaged many students to become more active whilst at DMU.

“She has worked on marketing and promotion of coaching sessions and evaluating and monitoring those sessions independently.

“Emilie has been a pleasure to work with and has set the standard for other volunteers in the role in the years to come.”

At the celebration in London, Emilie was awarded a special golden basketball plus a jersey made especially for the winners of the Basketball Foundation awards.

Emilie said: “I’d like to give a particular shout out to Chiedza Mparutsa and Regina Kabia who have really been there to support me throughout the year, both helping promote the sessions and with everyday university life.”

“My involvement with basketball during my three years at DMU has been the best student experience imaginable and the DMU Pitbulls are like my family.

“I hope to continue my involvement in basketball in the years to come and would love to coach children living in poverty in South Africa and South America.”

Emilie’s award comes just a few months after Sarah Booth, the Health and Safety Officer of the DMU Dragons Women’s Volleyball Club, picked up her own volunteering award from governing body, Volleyball England. 

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