Yorkshire athletes awarded Wilf Paish Scholarships
The Wilf Paish Athletics Scholarships have been awarded to the talented Yorkshire-based athletes to help them to realise their full potential. Multi-discipline athlete (hammer and shotput) Emily Campbell, runners Mark Fallaize (800m) and Jack Hallas (800/1500m) race walker Jasmine Nicholls, and bobsledder Ryan Farrington, have each been awarded £500.
Wilf Paish, who passed away at the start of 2010, was coach of javelin aces Tessa Sanderson and Mick Hill and trained more than 100 athletes who became Olympians.
Mick Hill, who now works as an elite performance coach at Leeds Met, training athletes such as London 2012 star Jessica Ennis-Hill, is managing the scholarship programme. He said: "Wilf's love of athletics was absolute and his knowledge, enthusiasm, coaching and teaching expertise has been experienced by hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches and teachers all over the globe either through direct contact with him or through his extensive written work. These scholarships are across a range of track and field disciplines and show the depth of talent at the University."
Sprinter and bobsledder Ryan Farrington, aged 24, who recently qualified for the Great Britain Bobsleigh Junior squad, is currently studying for an MA in Osteopathy. He said: "I began sprinting after my diagnosis of Dystonia, which causes uncontrollable and sometimes painful muscle spasms. I was advised to take up a sport which involved high activity/gross muscle movement to reduce the degenerative changes that doctors expected my body to take.
"After training hard to be able to move as a sprinter should, I found that I would always be extremely tired physically, but the speed of the event and the focus required was a relief from the mental stresses of my condition. It helped me cope with my dystonia, and the happier I became focusing on pushing my body to its limits the better my performances became.
"My ultimate goal is to become the first athlete to make all three games, the Olympics, Paralympics and Winter Olympics. I would be happy with just representing my country at the games, but the greatest thing I can aspire to is a medal."
Jasmine Nicholls, 18, trains at the National Centre for Race Walking at Leeds Met and is in the first year of her degree in Sports Development. She commented: "My target in race walking is the Rio Olympics in 2016, however for me this is still some way off and for the 2014 season my aim is to finish my final year as a junior on a high; I want to come out of the season having competed for England athletics during March then go onto China to compete for Great Britain in the race walking world cup the following month in May, before finally going to Eugene, United States to compete in the World Junior Championships during July.
"I am so thrilled to be awarded this bursary fund, as it will go towards buying some new kit for training and competing. It will also go towards paying for some of my competitions like entry fees and maybe going home for the weekend in order to compete in my local races which I would still like to support despite living in Leeds."