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New graduate has high Olympic hopes

Gordon Trevett, Sports Performance Manager, congratulates Lawrence Clarke

Gordon Trevett, Sports Performance Manager, congratulates Lawrence Clarke Martin Chainey

Lawrence Clarke

Lawrence Clarke Martin Chainey

Press release issued: 22 July 2011

Qualifying for the Olympics is the next goal for talented sportsman Lawrence Clarke, who has just graduated from the University of Bristol.

The 22-year-old swapped his sportswear for a gown and cap as he celebrated achieving a 2:1 Honours Degree in Theology and Religious Studies.

Having already achieved the qualifying time for the men’s 110m hurdles, Lawrence is hopeful of securing a place in Team GB for London 2012.

Last year he won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, and in 2009 he broke Colin Jackson’s long-standing junior British record for the event.

Lawrence has been selected for the World Student Games next month in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, and he’s also competing for a place in the World Athletics Championships just a few weeks later.

Lawrence, who is fresh from being the team captain at the European Under-23 Championships, said: “Although I’ve already run the qualifying time, the final squad isn’t being chosen until 1 July next year and only the top two are guaranteed a place, so I have to really keep pushing.

“Being part of the High Performance Squad of athletes at Bristol University has been brilliant. Not only do we get advice on things like physiology and sports nutrition, but they advise us on managing our routine and finding time to do our work.

“I was really pleased and chuffed to bits to get a 2:1 because it was hard balancing studying with training, which was often five or six days a week for up to five hours each time.”

Lawrence is also a University of Bristol Lloyd Robinson Scholar, receiving external funding and support to help him pursue his athletics career.

He is one of a handful of elite athletes supported by the University who are aiming to compete in London 2012.

Former students Philippa Newton and Charlotte Craddock have already secured their spots in the GB hockey team, and current Law student Georgie Twigg is also hoping to be part of the team.

Gordon Trevett, Sports Performance Manager, said: “Lawrence is second or third in Britain for the 110m hurdles at the moment and stands a great chance of being selected for the Olympics.

“He’s one of our top prospects and it’s great to see him graduate today with such a bright future ahead of him.

“We’ve seen a trend where our high performance athletes do very well when it comes to exams, with an average of 92 per cent getting a 2:1 or First Class Honours Degree over the years, which shows that they’re high achievers both in sport and academically.

“Our role is to provide them with the support they need to achieve both, including advice on strength and conditioning, nutrition, sports psychology and help from our sports medicine clinic.

“We also provide a mentoring service to help with any stresses they come across during their busy time at University.”

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