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Researchers complete huge biomechanics research project


A 40-strong team from the university’s Carnegie School of Sport successfully completed the biggest biomechanics research project ever conducted in athletics during the IAAF World Championships London 2017.

Picture from IAAF World Championships Dr Athanassios Bissas, a leading researcher and international expert on issues related to biomechanics of sports performance, led the team. Speaking about the experience, he said: “To have secured exclusive rights to provide the official data analysis for the IAAF is a prestigious opportunity for the University.

“Phase one of the project has been successfully completed in London with the data collection and production of four flash reports, with further analysis and a final project report to follow.”

The aim of the project was to support athletes and coaches in the optimisation and improvement of their training and competition performance. The team deployed a selection of 40 cameras – comprising 25 high-speed cameras and 15 HD camcorders across 17 event disciplines in London.

Helen Davey, MSc Student Sport and Exercise Biomechanics student said: “When first approached about being involved in this project I was immediately interested. The fact that no biomechanics project of this magnitude has ever been conducted instantly showed me the importance of being involved, not only for myself but for my university and the biomechanics field.

“Another extremely exciting element of the study was the calibre of the athletes involved and the effect that this research could have on their careers. I not only had an amazing time participating in this project but also feel I have learnt a lot. I am so grateful to have been included as part of the team and am sure this experience will continue to benefit me in many ways.”

Liam Thomas, Sport and Exercise Biomechanics Senior Learning Support Officer, said: “Involvement in this project presented a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues and students within the Carnegie School of Sport.

“Collecting data in the field at a venue such as the London Stadium presented a number of challenges, especially when one considers the sheer scale and scope of the project. Many might not know that this project was planned and delivered within a three-month window.

“The fact that in such a short space of time, we were able to successfully capture biomechanical data on many of the World’s elite athletes such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farrah and Wayde Van Niekerk is a testament to all of those involved.

“From a personal standpoint it has been an unforgettable experience. To say that I was part of a team that carried out the largest biomechanics research project in athletics at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 is one that I will never forget.”

Initial data reports have already been published from four events: 10,000m, 100m, pole vault and discus throw. The data can be viewed on the IAAF website.

More data and analysis for these and for another 13 events will be published later in the year.
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