Leeds Beckett student selected for World University Games
Harriet Akeroyd, a BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science student at Leeds Beckett will represent Great Britain in Taekwondo as part of a 102-strong delegation of 67 athletes and 35 coaches and support staff across 12 sports.
The biennial event, which is being held in Gwangju, South Korea from the 3 July to 14 July, will see over 12,000 student athletes from 170 nations compete in 21 sports.
The Games are widely recognised as the second largest and most competitive multi-sport event in the world, behind only the Olympics. Over 48% of medallists at recent Olympic Games have been Universiade medallists. At the Games held in Kazan Russia in 2013, Great Britain took home one gold, one silver and four bronze.
Athletes are selected on a strict set of criteria and qualifying times, distances and results, and are ratified by the National Governing Body (NGB) in their respective sports.
Speaking ahead of the games, 19 year old Harriet said: “The achievement of representing Great Britain in the World University Games is probably now my best achievement alongside representing England in the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Being given the opportunity at such a young age to represent the country as a senior, having only been in the senior division for just over a year, is a massive achievement too.”
She continued: “I have never represented Great Britain in any junior or senior events before and never been at a competition with such high ranking opponents, so it should be an amazing experience. Also, the competition is held in Gwangju, Korea – having this opportunity to go and visit such an incredible country is something I’ve never experienced either.
“I feel honoured and so excited to be representing my country at the World University Games. A lot of hard work and determination over the past nine years in both styles of Taekwondo have finally got me to this moment, so I am thrilled to be given this chance. I am currently studying BSc Sport and Exercise Science. Leeds Beckett University has been very helpful with my training too, since being awarded the Carnegie Sports Scholarship in 2014 I have been having additional strength and conditioning, which has made a considerable difference in my abilities within the sport.”
Great Britain’s Chef de Mission, Andy Hibbert, added: “The Games are a fantastic spectacle and provide an excellent opportunity for those elite athletes who are also studying to gain competitive sporting experience on a world stage. Great Britain has had a long tradition sending tomorrow’s sporting stars to the World University Games and I look forward to supporting this year’s athletes in South Korea.”
Sally Nickson, Head of Sport at Leeds Beckett added: "Our University is extremely proud of the achievements of students in the pursuit of sporting excellence and Harriet is no exception, she is a talented individual and we are delighted she has been selected as part of Team GB at the World Student Games.”
Past Great Britain athletes who have competed at a World University Games and gone on to compete at Olympic or Commonwealth Games include Beth Tweddle, Jess Ennis, Gemma Gibbons and Michael Jamieson.
In this year’s team, Lutalo Muhammad of Middlesex University, who won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, will compete for Great Britain in Taekwondo (-87kg). Lutalo also competed for Great Britain at the World University Championships in 2010.
Great Britain has also been the host nation for the 1991 World University Games (then the World Student Games), when the event was held in Sheffield. The Games left several legacy venues including Ponds Forge, which is now host to the largest student multisport event in Europe – the BUCS Nationals.