Loughborough University appoints new Head of Para Sport

Loughborough University has appointed Nik Diaper as its new Head of Para Sport, the first role of its kind within higher education.

The appointment signals the roll out of a new strategy for Loughborough to establish itself as the pre-eminent university for para and disability sport globally.

Diaper is currently Head of Performance at the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and is due to take up his new role at Loughborough on June 1.

He will bring with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, having spent the past 15 years in a variety of para sport roles. This includes 13 years at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) where he was Head of Sport Science and Medicine for Paralympic Sport.

In his new role Diaper will be responsible for defining Loughborough’s strategic direction for para sport and for developing a new disability sport offer for the University.

Diaper said:

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Loughborough Sport team and to lead this exciting and ambitious para sport strategy.

“I genuinely believe that Loughborough University has the potential to provide the most comprehensive para sport offer of any higher education institute in the world. Students, athletes and stakeholders in sport are at the heart of this offer and I look forward to working with all of these groups to create an amazing and unique para sport environment at Loughborough.”

John Steele, Loughborough University’s Executive Director of Sport, added: “This new role will enable us to broaden our sporting offer to all students, regardless of ability or disability; and to create a centre of excellence in para sport performance that compliments the current research and innovation in this area already taking place at the University.

“Joining up all this work into a coherent strategy that includes all our partners and stakeholders is now essential. This is a broad and challenging role that needed someone of Nik’s calibre and experience to drive the para sport agenda forward.  We are delighted to have him on the team.” 

Loughborough University has a long and proud history in disability sport. Many Loughborough-linked para athletes have competed at national and international events, including the Paralympics, and some of the biggest names in para sport are University alumni. These include wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Penny Briscoe OBE, who has served as Paralympic GB's Chef de Mission since 2014, and elite discus thrower Dan Greaves.

The campus is also home to the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport. The internationally acclaimed research centre is dedicated to improving knowledge about Paralympic sport and promoting the benefits that can be gained through participation in disability sport and physical activity. And in November the University’s new Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel was officially opened. The facility offers state of the art fully accessible accommodation for disabled athletes.