Balancing Academic and Athletic Success

Coventry University Sports Scholar, Eleanor Broome recounts her Long Jump competition experiences this past month at the SPAR British Indoor Athletics Championships, Taking place in Birmingham, where she finished a very respectable 10th, and the British Universities and Colleges Sport (bucs) National championships in Sheffield where she won a gold medal.

Eleanor reflects how Coventry University supports her to achieve her athletics goals.

Eleanor Broome (centre) collects her Gold medal at the BUCS  Credit: Morris Fox/MV4RPhotography

“During my time at Coventry University the staff and students from both my Sports Therapy degree and sports scholarship have been very supportive in my achievements and made a huge contribution to supporting me as a student athlete.

The SPAR British Indoor Athletics Championships is a competition where the top athletes in Britain compete. In order to compete, you have to achieve a certain qualification standard and receive an invitation by British Athletics. Fellow sports scholars Ayo Byron and Zoe Thompson competed in the 60m hurdles and 200m.

This was my first time at the British Indoor Championships and the atmosphere was amazing. The crowd always joined in and gave you an applause even if you weren’t one of the top athletes. It was an incredible experience to be jumping against the best in Britain. At the time, I wasn’t happy with my performance of 5.98m, landing me 10th, yet on reflection, it was the furthest I’d jumped at the beginning of a season. It was also the first time I had jumped off a full approach run up since my knee injury 8 months ago, so I was very grateful to finish the competition injury free.

As part of my sports scholarship package I receive free physiotherapy appointments so I have been working regularly with the scholarship physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coaches to help with rehabbing my knee. The physiotherapist always manages to squeeze me in even when there is no more appointments that day. At Coventry University there is a Sports Therapy Clinic ran by 2nd and 3rd year Sports Therapy students in the health and life sciences building, it’s here where they have always provided me with regular massages to help me move efficiently.

Despite the University not having athletics track, I train twice a week in the strength and conditioning suite at the university with strengths and conditioning coaches provided due to my sports scholarship. They help me build strength and power and help with mobility.

Credit: Morris Fox/MV4RPhotography
Credit: Morris Fox/MV4RPhotography

After the British Championships, I had a week to recover and correct any technical elements before the British University Championships (BUCS) the following weekend. Coming into BUCS, I was ranked the 5th best athlete on paper so I wasn’t expecting any medals, I just wanted to focus on what I had been working on in training and jump far. I had an almost disastrous qualification round on Saturday where I was running slowly and I wasn’t hitting the board. I just felt a lot of pressure to qualify so I wasn’t enjoying myself which resulted in some very poor personal performances. But luckily, it was enough to get through to the finals the next day. That night I spoke to my coach over the phone, I was a bit upset and he told me that tomorrow was another day and to forget about what my competitors were doing and to just focus on myself.

I was in a lot better frame of mind the day of the finals. I knew exactly what I had to do. I knew if I replicated what I had been doing in training then I was going to jump well. And that’s exactly what happened. I left everything on the track and jumped an indoor personal best of 6.19m resulting in a gold medal win. I was over the moon.

Next season, I hope to improve on my personal best of 6.21m and have the opportunity to compete at the British Athletics Outdoor Championships in August.

Throughout my sports scholarship, the University has helped me with travel and accommodation expenses to my competitions as it becomes very expensive travelling up and down the country. The sports scholarship provides a cash bursary of up to £1500 where you can spend it on anything like kit or equipment. Additionally it also gives up to £1500 to use on any coaching qualifications you wish to have, competition entry fees, essentially costs associated with your competitive sport. Here you need to provide the receipts. The support services I receive are free and include: access to the university gym, careers workshops, sports psychology and nutritional support.”