Current students, graduates and staff from the University of Stirling are preparing to perform at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
There are no fewer than five students and graduates competing, with a further three University-based athletes selected and members of staff coaching and officiating.
Susan Egelstaff, nee Hughes, is the first Stirling representative in action, the Psychology and Sports Studies graduate facing Slovenia’s Maia Tvrdy in a women singles badminton group stage match tomorrow (Saturday 28 July).
On Saturday evening, First Class Honours Economics and Finance graduate Colin Fleming joins forces with Men’s Doubles partner Ross Hutchins to take on France’s Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau in round one.
Manchester-born swimmer Rob Bale is based at the British Gas Intensive Training Centre (ITC) on campus and will be part of the men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team, whose event is scheduled for Tuesday 31 July.
One week later, Marketing graduate Gavin Noble is set to make history as the first male triathlete to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games when he steps up to the start line on Tuesday 7 August.
Dr Tom Forbes, a Senior Lecturer in the Stirling Management School, will have the best seat in the house when Sir Chris Hoy takes to the track through his role as a London 2012 Cycling National Technical Official.
“It will be the highlight to date of my officiating career,” said Forbes, who is also officiating over the road and track cycling events at the Paralympics. “Seven years ago, when London was selected I remember I was just getting involved in track cycling and now here I am officiating at an Olympics. I was at the velodrome for the test event and if the crowd is anything like it was, then the hairs will be standing up on the back of my neck.”
Psychology and Sports Studies graduate Charlotte Henshaw will swim in three events, starting with the 400m Freestyle S8 on Friday 31 August.
Also in the pool is local hero Jim Anderson, who trains at the performance centre for disability swimming at the University with Stirling Swimming. He will be competing at an incredible sixth Paralympics, looking to add to his haul of 17 medals.
He will be joined by coach Kerry Wood, a Stirling graduate and former Commonwealth Games competitor.
Former Stirling student Gordon Reid, who continues to train at the Scottish National Tennis Centre on campus, begins his wheelchair tennis singles competition on Saturday 1 September.
The 20-year-old said: “I’ve had the experience of competing in Beijing four years ago, but this will be something even bigger and better than I have ever experienced before. I will be taking a few trips to London to get some outdoor training.”
Current Sports Studies student Scott McCowan, one of eleven students supported by national sports scholarship programme Winning Students, will represent Team GB in Boccia, competing in the BC3 Mixed Pairs and Mixed Individual from Sunday 2 September.
He said: “In every tournament I take part in I want to win and this is no different. I’d love to win gold in both the individual and pair events, but it is my first Games so I know it will be tough. Still, many of the debutants in Beijing won a Paralympic medal so newcomers can upset the odds.”
Regular updates on our Olympian’s and Paralympian’s progress will be posted on twitter @StirUni