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25 March 2006 PR 06/35

Silver and Bronze for Loughborough University as young athletes shine in Melbourne

Days 9 and 10 of the Commonwealth Games brought some fantastic performances from some of Loughborough University’s younger athletes.

Sports Science graduate Kim Wall provided the platform for England’s 4x100m Relay Silver medal. Although a 400m runner, Wall ran a great leg in the Relay after being called into the team for one of the Games’ blue ribbon events. Along with England team mates Nwanyika Onuora, Emma Ania and Laura Turner, Wall clocked 43.43 to finish second behind Jamaica and claim Silver.

With fellow Loughborough Sports Science graduate Nicola Sanders, Wall was also in the 4x400m Relay team that came in the Gold medal position, but were disqualified for a lane infringement.

Steven Lewis, a graduate who still trains at the University, excelled in the Pole Vault to claim a Bronze medal. In front of a packed MCG Stadium in Melbourne, Lewis equalled his personal best with 5.50m to finish in third place behind Australia’s Steve Hooker and Dmitri Markov.

Previously a World Youth Games medallist in 2003, 19-year-old Lewis said: “I just wanted to do my best. I thought I might medal, but getting it is amazing. I’m blown away.”

First year student Martyn Rooney announced his transformation from understudy to potential star with an imperious run in the 400m Relay heat and then again in the final.

Rooney’s achievement was all the more impressive, since he went out to the Commonwealth Games solely as a member of the 4x400m squad, but was given a place in the individual event when Malachi Davis dropped out through injury. Ultimately he finished just outside the medals in fifth place.

Martyn Rooney

Rooney has run superbly all week, setting two personal bests in two days to finish second behind Jamaica’s Lansford Spence to qualify for the 400m final. In doing so, he also broke Roger Black’s 21-year-old British Junior Record.

Yesterday (Friday) in Melbourne, Rooney looked assured as he took the second leg in the 4x400m Relay for England. Rooney opened-up a substantial lead at the half way mark, and was still going away from the opposition at the handover. Despite being hauled back, England qualified second fastest (3:03.91) for the final.

In another masterful display in the final Rooney ran a scintillating final leg to bring the team in fourth, almost catching the Bronze medallists, Jamaica, on the line. South Africa took Silver and Australia Gold. However at the time of going to print this race was under protest, with a medal now a possibility for England.

Away from the track, England Women’s Hockey squad, which featured five Loughborough students and graduates, claimed a Bronze medal. They won the medal after beating New Zealand on penalties in a dramatic shoot-out. The sides were tied 0-0 at full time, but despite missing their first penalty, England held their nerve to win the tie-breaker 3-1.

The Loughborough University Melbourne Commonwealth Games medal count now stands at an immense 28. 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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