University of Hertfordshire athletes go for gold in Tokyo

23 July 2021

Athletes taught and trained at the University of Hertfordshire have been selected to represent Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the pinnacle of sporting excellence, attracting the world’s best athletes from a variety of different sports and disciplines. The University of Hertfordshire has a rich sporting history, with professional-level facilities at Hertfordshire Sports Village, close industry links, and expert teaching which has allowed many top athletes to thrive both on the field and in the classroom.

The Hertfordshire sportspeople competing in Tokyo include:

Kim Little – football 
An alumna of the University, Kim Little is co-captain for Team GB’s Women’s Football Team at this year’s Games. This is the second Olympic Games for the Arsenal captain and Scotland vice-captain, after she competed at London 2012 – the first time Team GB had competed in the women’s football tournament. Kim holds a BSc in Sports Studies from the University of Hertfordshire and played for the University’s Women’s Football Team, before graduating in 2011. In preparation for Tokyo, Kim has been training with Performance Herts, the University’s strength and condition department.

Lizzie Bird – steeplechase
Lizzie is the British record holder in the 3,000m steeplechase and a regular at the top of the British 3,000m steeplechase rankings. She took part in the University’s Hertfordshire Talented Athlete Programme (HTAP) whilst at school, which supports top local athletes with strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, and athlete education. The programme, now in its 16th year, has been the pathway for many Olympic and Paralympic legends, including four-time gold medal-winning cyclist Laura Kenny (née Trott).

Grace Harvey - swimming
Grace is another HTAP athlete. She is a para-swimmer competing in the S6, SB5 and SM6 classification for swimmers with a physical impairment due to Cerebral Palsy. A European Bronze medallist and an SB5 British record holder, Grace is also training to become a mental health champion for the British para-swimming team.

David Connell, Director of Sport at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “We’re proud that many top athletes have made the University of Hertfordshire their home. Their ability and success speaks to the quality of training and the facilities we offer at the University, and our team is continuing to work with the very best athletes in the county for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games, and beyond. We wish all of our athletes in Tokyo the best success and we look forward to watching them compete.”


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