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Meet the crème de la crème of University sport - our Elite Athletes

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Published on 03 November 2022

Sir David Bell with some of the University of Sunderland's Elite Athletes
Sir David Bell with some of the University of Sunderland's Elite Athletes

Meet the superstar athletes from the University of Sunderland.

This year’s team of elite sportsmen and women lined up to meet Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University.

The Team Sunderland Elite Athlete Scheme exists for student athletes performing at an advanced level, providing them with financial support and opportunities for personal development.

This year’s eclectic mix of athletes include a former Olympic gymnast, basketball players, golfers and American footballers.

Laura Hockaday, Sport Development Officer for Team Sunderland, said: "It's great to be able to support this year's group of elite athletes.

“We're looking forward to seeing their development across the year. We've got a fantastic group of dedicated, talented athletes across a range of sports and each one has earned the right to their support.

"We hope that through the funding we'll be able to help play a part in their journey as athletes."

The Elite Athletes will be able to use the funding provided to obtain the right equipment for their chosen sport while also putting funds towards travel costs.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, said: “Every year I come away from meeting the students on our Elite Athlete Scheme feeling awestruck and inspired by their talent and their commitment.

“It requires an immense amount of discipline and dedication to excel in a sport, so it is particularly noteworthy that our students combine their rigorous training and development with the demands of their academic studies.

“Our Elite Athletes are an enormous credit to their sport and to the University of Sunderland and they demonstrate that hard work, focus and belief can take you a long way in life.”

This year’s Elite Athletes are:

Phillipa Willis, Volleyball

Amy Tinkler, Gymnastics/Cheerleading

Molly Gardener, Rugby 7s & 15s

Katelyn Little, Gymnastics

Leah Pattison, Judo

Eirini Kokinaki, Volleyball

Alice Walton, Volleyball

Pru Hubbard, Aquatics

Simon Jakab, Football

Sam Digman, Rugby Union

Morgan Donaldson, Archery

Niall Bennison, Golf

Ellie O’halloran, Discus & Shot Putt

Anya Rose Mckenzie, Golf

Karolina Kacirkova, Rugby

Monhamed Attia, Karate

Joshua Hutton, Olympic Weightlifting

Sasha Dworkin, Fencing

Connor Mason, Basketball

Lewis Blackburn, Kickboxing

Michael Guirguis, Basketball

Grace Mackie, Football

Christan Hall, American Football

Charlotte Spark, Rugby Union

Daniel English, Blind Football