Stirling scholarships brimming with sporting excellence

Athletes confirmed for International Sports Scholarships Programme

Craig Benson
Craig Benson. Photo: Team Scotland
10 October 2014

Commonwealth athletes and World Amateur level golfers are amongst more than 80 University of Stirling students selected for its prestigious sports scholarship programme.

Stirling’s International Sports Scholarship Programme was first established in 1981 and has supported hundreds of student athletes including current European Tour golfer Richie Ramsay and ATP Tour Tennis player Colin Fleming.

Sports scholarships at Stirling are offered in five core sports: football, golf, swimming, tennis and triathlon, with students receiving high quality coaching alongside their studies.

The 2014-15 roster includes returning Commonwealth Swimming Champion Ross Murdoch and World U23 Triathlon Silver medallist Marc Austin.

Amongst the new recruits is swimmer Craig Benson, who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games aged just 18 and went on to finish fourth in the 100m Breaststroke final at Glasgow 2014, just behind Murdoch.

He said: “There are obviously lots of world class athletes within the swimming programme, athletes that competed at the recent Commonwealth Games. That, combined with the fact there is world-class coaching and support all in the one place, made the decision easy for me to come to the University of Stirling. I’m aiming for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and qualification starts next season so alongside my studies that will be my main focus.”

Also starting at Stirling is postgraduate Sport Management student Marco Iten one of four Stirling golfers ranked inside the top 100 in the world in the men’s amateur game. The Swiss international made the move to Stirling after talking to his friend and team-mate Mathias Eggenberger and Golf Coach Dean Robertson.

“Mathias has made substantial improvements in his game during his time in Stirling,” said Iten, who enjoyed several collegiate competition wins whilst previously studying in the USA. “And after speaking to Coach Dean Robertson about the programme I knew that it would be a great opportunity for me to take my game to the next level.

“I hope I can establish myself on one of the main tours and try to contend for victories. The fact that the University has a practice facility on campus means I can sharpen my skills whenever I find the time. Although I plan on making a living through my golf skills, I have always stayed on track to get a degree in a field that suits me. It is important to me that I can choose what career path I want to follow.”

The men’s golf team is the reigning European Universities Champions whilst the tennis team celebrated international success at the recent Roland Garros Team Championships.

Graduates of the programme in the summer were 2013 Scottish Amateur Golf Champion Zander Culverwell and swimmer Eloise Barber, who achieved a first class honours degree in Sport & Exercise Science.

Raleigh Gowrie, Sports Performance Manager, said: “The quality of the applicants for the International Sports Scholarship Programme continues to impress and I am sure the students will receive the best possible support as they work towards their sporting goals. It is not just on the pitch or in the pool where we see the results; the programme produces a high calibre of highly employable graduates.”

International Sports Scholarship Programme

Background information

For any further information or to arrange an interview with a specific athlete, please contact: Public Relations Officer David Christie on 01786 466653 or email david.christie1@stir.ac.uk

Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence
First Minister Alex Salmond designated the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2008. Our mission is to deliver the best for Scottish sport through the powerful and inspirational combination of sport and education. We are at the heart of Scottish sport, preparing athletes to perform on the world stage, enabling students to develop their skill sets for excellent careers and producing innovative research to improve the health of the nation. Our sport-centred campus brings together the people shaping Scottish sport, creating a critical mass of sporting expertise and excellence. Find out more at:www.stir.ac.uk/sport-at-stirling

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