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Professor Vicky Tolfrey in the research labs

Loughborough professor given International Paralympic Committee award

Loughborough’s Professor Vicky Tolfrey is to receive one of the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) top awards in recognition of her commitment to para athlete research.

For nearly two decades Professor Tolfrey, Director of the University’s Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, has sought ways to apply sports science to para athletes who have been training for the international stage.

Professor Tolfrey will be presented with the 2017 IPC Paralympic Scientific Award in September at the VISTA Conference in Toronto, Canada. The biennial award recognises the contribution of academics to research in the field of sports for persons with an impairment.

Speaking about the award she said: “Considering the calibre of person that falls into this category, I am truly honoured to be following in the footsteps of Professors Lucas van der Woude, Rory Cooper and Gudrum Doll-Tepper, who have inspired me in many ways. It is a magnificent achievement and I am privileged to be the recipient of this award in 2017.

“It is very important that a coach-driven and athlete-centred approach is adopted in para sport research, and this has been made possible by my close working relationship with both the English Institute of Sport and the British Paralympic Association.

“Our work at the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport is not undertaken in isolation. We collaborate with the coaches and athletes to understand their needs and what may impact their performance.

“I am also fortunate that I have experience attending the Paralympic Games as a Sports Practitioner and this has definitely deepened my understanding of the sporting environment.”

IPC Medical and Scientific Director, Dr Peter Van de Vliet, added: “The academic record of Professor Tolfrey covers a wide range of disciplines that all contribute to optimising para athlete performances.

“Her answers to very concrete demands of athletes in different sports are appreciated by both athletes and their support staff, and are widely recognised by the academic community. I want to congratulate Vicky on the award, which serves as both a recognition and an incentive for further work in an ever-growing scientific domain, in partnership with the IPC.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 17/92

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. It has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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