University athlete reaches Great Britain standard

A physiotherapy student from Plymouth University has qualified to represent Great Britain at two prominent athletic events.

Sharn Hooper, 31, will be competing in the age 30-35 category of the European Triathlon Union (ETU) Cross Duathlon Championships in Romania on 23 April, and at the ETU Cross Triathlon Championships on 23 June in Switzerland.

She was chosen after posting a number of successful results in triathlon, cycling and cross country races throughout the year.

Incorporating a 6km run followed by an 18km bike ride and a 3km run, all off road, this Saturday’s duathlon is one of Sharn’s toughest challenges to date, after competing in events ranging from Iron Man to mountain biking. 

As well representing her country, the first-year physiotherapy student is looking forward to the fitness challenge, and has used the clinical skills acquired on the course to keep herself in top shape.

Sharn said: 

“I have always been a sports fanatic and trained really hard – recently I attended two cycling training camps in Wales and Mallorca – so qualifying for these events is absolutely fantastic. I’m also fascinated by health and fitness, which inspired me to undertake a physiotherapy course. By understanding how the human body works, and helping to improve the quality of others’ lives, the course enables me to develop my skills and help to improve my own fitness.

“My course tutors and the whole of Plymouth University’s School of Health Professions have also been fantastic with accommodating my training and even funding my GB kit, so a massive thank you to everyone involved.”

Heather Hunter, Academic Lead for Physiotherapy at Plymouth University, said: 

“We are all incredibly proud of Sharn, not only as an athlete but also a student. She’s balancing a demanding course that requires a lot of clinical practice with top-class athletic competition, and it’s great that she’s able to boost her performance in both through reciprocal learning.”

To follow Sharn’s progress, find her on Twitter @SharnHPhysio.

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Welcome to the School of Health Professions where we pride ourselves in the quality and professionalism of our academic offer and where our courses are designed to meet the demands of contemporary health and social care practice. As you begin your professional journey we will encourage you to reach your full potential and achieve excellence in your chosen discipline. We also want you to enjoy your time with us and hope that you will embrace some of the social and recreational opportunities that are such an important aspect of university life.

As a health professions student it is important to note that you not only represent Plymouth University but also the profession you are about to enter. This brings new responsibilities and you will be expected to behave in a suitably considerate and professional manner at all times. The standards you set yourself and your personal values are just as important as your academic achievements.

Professor Graham Sewell, Head of School