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24 March 2006 PR 06/34

Medals on track and court for Loughborough University

On Days 8 and 9 of the Commonwealth Games experienced Loughborough University track and field athletes were in action, and so were some rising stars seeking to emulate the golden emergence of Lisa Dobriskey.

Lee McConnell claimed a Bronze medal in the women’s 400m Hurdles for Scotland. McConnell, who graduated from Loughborough in 2000 with a degree in Sports Science, won Silver in the 400m flat four years ago in Manchester, and there had been much advance debate of whether she would race the 400m or the 400m Hurdles in Melbourne.

Lee MCConnell

In the end the race was won by Australian favourite and defending Champion Jana Pittman with a new Games Record of 53.82. England’s Natasha Danvers-Smith was second in 55.17, just ahead of McConnell who finished in 55.25. In fourth place was another promising Loughborough star Nicola Sanders, a 2003 Sport Science graduate.

McConnell was delighted with her bronze medal. She said: “I wasn’t sure what I could produce coming out here, because I am new to the event. But I am really grateful to all the people who have stuck by me.”

Kemel Thompson also won a Bronze in the Men’s 400m Hurdles – with Rhys Williams coming fourth in the same race in a new Wales Record. Racing for Jamaica, the 2003 Business School graduate, who still trains at Loughborough, stormed into the medals in third in 48.65 behind South African Louis Van Zyl, who won in a Games Record 48.05.

Thompson grabbed the Bronze medal just ahead of Loughborough team mate and current first year Sports Science student Rhys Williams, who finished on fourth with a new personal best of 49.10.

Loughborough stalwart Chris Rawlinson, another 2003 Business School graduate, made the final but came last. This marked his last competitive race in the event following a series of injuries and a longer-term illness of the pelvic bone. Rawlinson has been a high profile athlete and ambassador for Loughborough University, claiming two Gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games.

Away from the track, Basketball has been making its debut at the Games and England’s women, including Loughborough graduate and sports scholar Jo Sarjant, claimed the first ever Commonwealth medal in the sport, winning Bronze.

The University medal count now stands at an incredible 25 in Melbourne.

For a full update on the achievements of Loughborough University’s athletes in the 2006 Commonwealth Games, including the medal table and ‘Roll of Honour’ visit:

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/service/publicity/commonwealth_games/

Ends

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Notes for editors:

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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