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Student athlete sets sights on Commonwealth Games

A student athlete at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has her sights firmly set on representing Great Britain at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban.

Heptathlete Niamh Bailey, who is studying Bespoke Footwear Biomechanics MA at DMU, is one of a number students who is benefiting from the funding and support provided by the prestigious Vice Chancellors Sports Scholarship packages, which were implemented just this summer.

Niamh, who studied her undergraduate degree at DMU in Footwear Design BA (Hons), also boasts the title of the current BUCS Outdoor Heptathlon Champion.

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The 22 year-old said: “I feel greatly supported at DMU by the sports scholarship scheme.

“The DMU sport department work with me to meet my needs as an athlete which I really value.

“Competing in Heptathlon means I need six pairs of shoes with the additional support and funding I receive going towards this, as well as my travel costs to training.”

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In comparison to most of the Sports Scholarship students at DMU, Niamh does not compete for a club, but as an individual athlete.

Training at the Olympic standard facilities at Loughborough University, she has an intense programme, training six days a week with her team of coaches.

Due to the varied nature of her sports discipline, Niamh has a coach in a number of areas for strength and conditioning, shot and javelin, sprint and hurdles, high jump and also long jump.

Training at the heart of the UK’s athletics scene, she has rubbed shoulders with some of the nation’s best including double 100m T44 Paralympic Champion; Jonnie Peacock.

That’s not all; two years ago she raced at the British Championships in the 100m hurdles against Jessica Ennis-Hill who she’d admirably watched compete at the London 2012 Olympics.

Niamh said: “After watching her perform in London, I never thought I’d get the chance to compete against my idol and an Olympic champion.

“For a time I was beating her, she beat me in the end, but for that short time I was like oh my god I’m beating Jessica Ennis which has given me a major confidence boost moving forward.”

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Niamh began Athletics at the age of 9, but at first didn’t take the sport that seriously due to focusing her time on Irish Dancing as a result of family influence.

However, she has now nurtured her talent in her chosen discipline and is taking her sport as seriously as ever, with a clear plan of what she wants to achieve. She said: “My main priority at the moment is to continue to qualify for England and Great Britain teams. I plan to enter BUCS Indoor and Outdoor this year too and take my career one step at a time.

“However, I am looking at further developing my sporting career following my degree and we’ll see where I end up, but I’d like to think that the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a realistic expectation.

“In regards to British athletics in general, I think our most recent success will continue. There are a lot of people retiring, but there is also a lot of promising your talent coming through.”

Posted on Friday 25th November 2016

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