Durham University: Record number of Durham stars going for Olympic gold at Tokyo

We’re proud to announce that we have one current and six former students representing their home nations at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. We have a rich history of sporting success: since 2013, we’ve been Britain’s Number 1 Team Sport University, supporting over 50 capped internationals per year as well as an ever-growing performance and participation programme.

Leading the way
The athletic students, past and present, will be representing Team GB and Canada and flew out to the Games on Sunday 11 July.

Current second-year Sport and Exercise Sciences student Fiona Crackles will be part of the Team GB’s Women’s hockey squad. The 21-year-old has been juggling her academic studies and commitment to hockey.

Fiona will be joined by History graduate Jack Waller 24, and Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity graduate Ollie Payne, 22, who are part of the Team GB Men’s hockey team.

The trio have all been part of our Hockey Club and were trained by Head Hockey Coach, Gareth Weaver-Tyler, based at our new £32m Sport and Wellbeing Park.

Joining the teams
Alongside the Hockey trio, we also have alumni Matt Rossiter, 31, and second-time Olympian Angus Groom, 29, who have been selected to row for Team GB. MSc Management graduate Eli Schenkel, 28, will compete for Canada’s fencing team.

Finally, we have James Harris who is a senior coach with Team GB for rowing. James is no stranger to success after he played a part in propelling the women’s rowing team into the history books after they won eight Olympic medals in Rio 2016.

A different experience this year
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will begin with the opening ceremonies on Friday 23 July, was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to ongoing restrictions, the Games will be different to previous years with the athletes’ friends and family unable to travel to Tokyo to support them.

Vice-Chancellor and Warden Professor Stuart Corbridge held a zoom call with five of the athletes prior to the games to congratulate them on being selected.

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