Leeds Beckett duo qualify for Olympic 800m semi final
BSc (Hons) Criminology student Keely and BA (Hons) Human Geography 2014, graduate Alex Bell have already competed and qualified for the semi-finals, alongside fellow Team GB runner Jemma Reekie.
Fellow Leeds Beckett University student Alex Yee, graduate Georgia Taylor-Brown and Honorary Graduate Jonny Brownlee will compete in the triathlon mixed relay Friday evening , alongside Triathlon Leeds star Jess Learmonth, who have all been training at Leeds Beckett University in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.
Keely and Alex are part of the Leeds Beckett University Talent Hub, a scheme which provides a high-quality performance development environment for elite athletes and offers a dual-career pathway through learning and education.
Andrew Henderson, Head Coach of Athletics at Leeds Beckett University, is heavily involved with the Talent Hub and, alongside Talent Hub Performance Coach Helen Clitheroe, works closely with both Hodgkinson and Bell, and is the latter’s head coach.
Henderson said: “We are obviously incredibly proud of Alex and Keely’s semi-final qualification,
“Both have worked really hard with the Talent Hub this year and now have a real chance of making the final.”
“Their success highlights the type of environment we aspire to create at the Talent Hub, which is a place for elite athletes to push each other, excel and receive the best support and resources that the university has to offer.
“We set ourselves very realistic KPIs for the Talent Hub, given this is officially our first year in operation, and we have exceeded all of those this year.”
Team GB’s triathlon mixed relay team are set to compete Friday evening, 23:30 GMT.
All four members have been training at the University in the build-up to Tokyo as part of its connections to Triathlon Leeds, an initiative formed in partnership with Leeds Beckett, British Triathlon, University of Leeds and Leeds City Council.
The partnership has enabled Triathlon Leeds’ top athletes to receive support from the Carnegie School of Sport’s research facilities and academics, as well as coaching and use of sports facilities at Leeds Beckett.
This support has seen the university recognised by UK Active, a not-for-profit body comprised of members and partners from across the UK active lifestyle sector which works with Public Health England, Sport England and serves more than 4,000 members.
Leeds Beckett received a nomination at this year’s UK Active Awards for its contribution to continue deliver services and access to elite level athletes during the pandemic.
Mark Dunstan, Head of Sport (Programmes and Operations) at Leeds Beckett’s Sport & Active Lifestyles, said:
“We are proud of our sporting partnerships, in particular with Triathlon Leeds and the partnerships we have through the Leeds Beckett University Talent Hub.
“It was imperative that we continued to support our elite athletes, especially after the postponement of Tokyo 2020 last year. We felt our world-class sports and research facilities were crucial for the athletes to be able to continue to train to a high-level and receive the support required to compete,
“To be recognised by UK Active for these efforts is humbling for our teams who have worked hard to ensure all athletes have been able to continue to train in a Covid-secure elite training environment throughout the pandemic.”