A student athlete has been able to compete on the world stage thanks to the support of a new fund available at Teesside University.
Powerlifter Andrew Richardson represented Ireland at the World Championships in Texas and the World University Championships in Belarus.
But his dreams of competing were nearly shattered due to a lack of external funding and he was unable to finance the trips himself while studying.
Andrew, who is in the final year of a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise (Applied Sports Science) at Teesside University, was able to apply for the new Student Experience Fund – a funding stream which allows students to access grants for specific projects or activities which will enhance their learning experiences and make a wider positive contribution.
Following a successful application, Andrew travelled
Andrew said: “I am very grateful for the assistance I received through the Student Experience Fund and would not have been able to compete without this fantastic support.
“It has given me the opportunity to not only represent my country on two occasions but help me coach as well. This has done wonders for my employability and developed key skills in coaching, organisation, time management, managing multiple athletes and developing athlete profiles.
“I am confident that the experience I have gained will help me to stand out from the crowd in job interviews as I progress in my career.”
Andrew was a promising rugby player as a teenager but an injury cut his career short and he turned to powerlifting. He is now ranked 75th in the world in the 105kg class and is hoping to return to Belarus in June next year for the World Junior Championships – his last junior competition before moving to the senior ranks.
During his time at University, Andrew also set up Teesside Barbarians, the University’s first powerlifting club which has been the dominant student club in the Yorkshire and North East Region winning the Northern Universities on two occasions.
He added: “I have had a fantastic experience at Teesside University and they are incredibly supportive – both academically during the course and towards my powerlifting.
“The facilities here are fantastic and the university demonstrates a real commitment to enhancing the overall student experience.”