2016–17 sporting scholars

A six-time gold medallist at the World Transplant Games and an international cliff diving champion are among the new intake of Sporting Excellence Scholars at the University of Plymouth.

More than 30 students new and returning are benefiting from the scheme, with sporting specialisms from sailing to wheelchair rugby. 

Iris Schmidbauer - High Diving, Cliff Diving, 20 Metre Competition Height 

Course: FdSc Sports Therapy and Injury Rehabilitation 

From the wooden 10m platform at the lake where Iris grew up to compete in the Red Bull Cliff Diving events, Iris has had an amazing journey, 

Iris studies with the University of Plymouth partner college, City College Plymouth and trains with the Plymouth Diving Club. It has taken German-born Iris just one year to reach her first World Cup competition (February 2016) where she came ninth in the Fina High Diving World Cup and eighth in the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition.

Iris hopes to compete and medal at the World Championships in Budapest 2017 and her ultimate aim is to compete at the 2020 Olympics.

Jack Unsworth - Surfing

Course: BSc (Hons) Mathematics

Jack started surfing at the age of five with a little help from his dad. At the age of 13 he won the Atlantic Games U16 Longboard Division and from this moment on Jack knew that he wanted to be a professional surfer.

At the age of 15 Jack won the British Junior Surfing title (2013) and two years later placed third when he entered his first European Men’s event in Portugal, 2015. Most recently Jack was crowned European Junior Longboard Champion, 2016.

When it came to choosing a University, Plymouth came top offering an ideal combination of a great course and an excellent location for surfing.

Jack not only competes internationally but in his spare time teaches young children at Surf School to understand the opportunities that surfing brings.

Katie Bradley - Taekwondo

Course: BSc (Hons) Mechanical Design and Manufacture

In 2014 Katie brought home a World Junior Bronze for Great Britain and became Commonwealth Junior Champion in Edinburgh for Team England. 

Since moving up and becoming a senior athlete in 2015, Katie has already represented her country four times and achieved Gold in the BSTF National Championships 2016. Most recently, Katie won two golds at the BSTF National Championships 2017 and British Masters Open 2017.

Read more about Katie.

Amy Stock - Taekwondo

Course: BSc (Hons) Psychology

Amy’s love for Taekwondo came from a week-long summer school at her local Taekwondo Club back in the summer of 2007. Since then Amy has become a second degree black belt in WTF Taekwando and regularly competes in Kyrougi (Sparring) and Poomsase (Patterns) and is a member of the Female Under 30 GB National Poomsase Squad. 

In 2016 Amy won Gold at the UTF British Open International (Senior A Class, female -57kg) and Silver in the TCGB National Championships Sparring in the Senior A Class (female -68kg). Since her first competition in 2010, Amy has had her sights on a career in coaching or instructing Taekwondo players worldwide.

Dawn Barlow - Weightlifting

Course: BMBS Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Having only started weightlifting five years ago, Dawn has achieved outstanding results at regional and national level, including; 1st place at the South West Powerlifting Qualifier, first place at the British Powerlifting Championships, both in 2015 and first (totalling 135kg) at the Centra Open Qualifier in Nottingham in 2016.

Studying medicine full time, alongside her national sporting endeavours, Dawn would not be able to accomplish her weightlifting dream without the Sporting Excellence Scholarship.

Next up for Dawn is the British U23 National Championships in October 2016. 

Jonathan Edwards - Hammer

Course: BSc (Hons) Mechanical Design and Manufacture

Jonathan was selected to represent Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing 16th, and later became the 2014 Welsh Champion.

Next up for Jonathan is to break the Welsh National Hammer Record and make the finals of the Commonwealth Games, and the scholarship will help him achieve this.

Read more about Jonathan

Faye West courtesy of Alina Szpakiewicz from the Starlington Project

Faye West - Wheelchair rugby

Course: BA (Hons) Media Arts

Faye is captain of the Plymouth based Westcountry Hawks Wheelchair Rugby club. As well as studying for a degree in Media Arts, Faye is one of three Hawks in the Team GB Development Squad, aiming to be selected for the 2020 Paralympic team in Tokyo.

Studying at the University of Plymouth allows Faye to train and achieve her career goal of working for a production company. 

Read more about Faye

Abdul Abdulmutaleb - Wheelchair rugby

Course: BSc (Hons) International Relations

Having grown up in Kuwait, Abdul now plays for one of the University of Plymouth valued partners, the Westcountry Hawks Wheelchair Rugby club, Abdul has also been selected for the Kuwait National team for Wheelchair Basketball! 

After completing his degree Abdul hopes to further his studies at the University of Plymouth. He also hopes to help the Westcountry Hawks secure a first or second position in the Wheelchair Rugby League, whilst training hard to represent his country in the 2020 Paralympics.

India Rojano - Tennis

Course: BSc (Hons) Sports Rehabilitation with Strength and Conditioning

India discovered her talent for tennis following her success at a regional level; claiming the top spots in the Under 21s Torbay Regional Tournament and the Penzance Regional Tournament back in 2011.

The next challenge for India is to get a world ranking by competing in pro series events across the UK and Europe, taking her sport to the next level. The University of Plymouth's partner college City College Plymouth was the obvious choice as she could follow her dream to train as a strength and conditioning coach to high performance athletes with the support of the Sporting Excellence Scholarship.

Dylan Costelloe - Basketball

Course: BSc (Hons) Geography 

Dylan, originally from Ireland, plays for Plymouth’s professional basketball club, Plymouth Raiders. Since the age of 15, Dylan has been representing his home country of Ireland in the national team and he represented them in summer 2016 at the European Championships.

The University of Plymouth's link with the Plymouth Raiders gave Dylan the opportunity to pursue his sporting and academic endeavours. Dylan’s ultimate goal is to continue being an indispensable player on the Irish National Team and take Ireland higher in the European rankings.

Amber Buckland - Alpine Skiing, Super-G, Alpine Combined, Giant Slalom and Slalom

Course: BMBS Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

From a young age Amber participated in a wide range of sports from football to gymnastics, but it was her yearly ski holidays with her family that really struck a chord. Soon weekly training sessions on a dry slope progressed into attendance at a training camp alongside the GB children’s team, it was here that Amber found her love for competing and at the age of 14 Amber was racing at a national level.

Amber's many sporting achievements include competing in the English Under 21 Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, and Alpine Combined becoming overall champion in 2016.

Working and studying hard and staying positive, even when things aren’t going well, is what keeps Amber at the top of her game.

Edward Holmes - Rugby

Course: BSc (Hons) Ocean Exploration

From judo to rugby, Edward's love of sport has been nurtured from an early age.

From the age of nine Edward’s love for rugby was nurtured by the Pirates Junior Section in Penzance. At just 18 he joined the Exeter Chiefs pre-season training squad where the immense skill of the professional players motivated him to go further. In 2015 Edward became the youngest player ever to play at an LV Cup Final when he was selected to play against the Saracens.

Whilst at the University of Plymouth, Edward was loaned to Plymouth Albion where he played every 80 minute match of the 2015/16 season. His dream is to continue his career as a professional rugby player- and the scholarship is helping him get there.

Luke Holloway - American Football

Course: BSc (Hons) Police and Criminal Justice Studies

Being invited to the GB Junior Team Trails after playing American football for just one year and then being selected was a dream come true for Luke. Since then he has become captain of the GB U19s American Football Team, defeating the Netherlands in his first game as a GB Lion. 

Since getting a taste of international level football, Luke’s ultimate dream is to play for the National Football League.