A number of UEA students past and present will be participating at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.
Marathon challenge for UEA alumna
UEA graduate Jess Draskau Petersson (above) will compete for Denmark in the marathon at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jess, 34, has dual Danish and Manx nationality; she grew up in Denmark before her family moved to the Isle of Man when she was 13.
She studied for a LLB in Law with German Law and Language at UEA, before going on to complete a Politics MA and an MPhil in Law at universities in America and New Zealand.
Whilst at UEA, Jess was a member of the university running club, and competed in sports championships between universities and cross country.
She was named UEA Sportsperson of the Year in 2000, and Isle of Man Sports Person of the Year 2003 and 2005. She competed for GB at Elite Level in Triathlon and Duathlon.
She began to compete in marathons and ironman competitions, but was hit five times in three years by cars and motorbikes while training. An accident in 2007 required Jess to have surgery on her knee, and prevented her from competing in anything for four years.
Jess decided to resume training in July 2011. She said: “I began training again because my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was sad that there was nothing I could do for him.
“I had the idea to focus my energy into sport, and hoped that if I could qualify for the Olympics, it would be a positive moment to share. Sadly this will not be possible now due to the progression of his condition.”
Currently training with the Harambee running group in South West London, Jess hopes that her appearance at London 2012 will be a new start for her in sport.
“After the Olympics, I would like to compete in a variety of World and European Championships and compete in 2016 Olympic Games in” she said.
“I combined running with working full time as an international Human Resources manager, but when I gained Olympic selection in May, I gave up my full time job to focus on preparing for the Games.
“Competing at this level is inevitably making tough financial demands on me, and so I am looking for sponsorship partnerships, ideally until the 2016 Olympics.”
The women’s marathon takes place on Sunday, August 5 from 11am. Follow Jess’ progress at www.twitter.com/jdpLondon2012
Chemistry students work as drug testers at Games
Three CHE PhD students will be part of the team of research students recruited by GlaxoSmithKline and trained by King's College London, to assist with the preparation of urine samples from athletes in the GSK anti-doping laboratories.
Girgis Obaid is currently in the third year of his PhD, María Marín is in the final year of her PhD and Susan van de Heide is a second year PhD student. They are all working under the supervision of Prof David Russell studying the uses of various nanoparticles for biological and analytical applications.
The lab operations will be led by Prof David Cowan, director of the Drug Control Centre at King's College London. They will be preparing samples for screening for prohibited substances. Extensive efforts will be carried out to ensure the Games are ‘clean’.
Girgis said: “We feel very honoured to be given the opportunity to work on such an important and exciting task alongside a team of highly specialised analysts.”
Further information about the Drug Control Centre can be found online
UEA students get into the Olympic spirit
From driving dignitaries to appearing in the opening ceremony – students from the University of East Anglia will be involved in many aspects of the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
Three UEA students will be demonstrating their skills by performing in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 27.
Biomedicine student Beverley Brierley will be dancing in the ceremony, while Evie Forster, a first year international development student, will also be performing after making it through two rigorous auditions to gain her place.
Haydn Wiseman, who is studying for a postgraduate degree in Mathematics, will participate in the tumbling and gymnastics sections of both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics.
Physiotherapy student Ian Scott will be putting his degree to good use as a massage therapist at both the Olympics and Paralympics.
Rebekah Hammett, a second year development student, will have the important task of acting as a driver and personal assistant to a dignitary or official at the Olympics, while Helen Marimaris will be a ‘flash quote reporter’ at the Paralympics, getting punchy quotes
from the athletes as they finish competing in their events.
A number of students will be involved in the logistical side of the games. Sport student Abigail Diss is going to volunteer in the Command, Control and Communications department at Wembley Arena, while Shanshan Xu, an economics undergraduate, and Peter Kerrison, who is studying environmental science, will both be involved in co-ordinating aspects of transport.
Students Kim Nommesch, Bintu Foday and Li Yang are all volunteering in the Olympic Event Service Tean, and first year Hannah Ward will act as a ‘wayfinder’ at the Paralympics, directing spectators at the ExCel Centre in London.
Two students have also managed to secure paid employment at the games. Lucindy Acheampomaa will work as a housekeeper in the Olympic Village, and Lucy Williams will work throughout the summer in the administrative transport team.