A University of Portsmouth student will compete before 60,000 people at the Olympic stadium this weekend.
Cassie Thorp is taking part in the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Outdoor Athletics Championships, the official London 2012 Athletics test event. The championships are part of the London Prepares series and used by the London 2012 Organising Committee to test vital areas of operation ahead of the 2012 Games. The event is also the culmination of Universities Week which incorporates the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as its overarching theme.
Cassie, 24, who has been competing for just two years, is running in the 10K race for which her personal best time is 35.08 minutes. The Sports Development student is rated sixth over five miles in her age group for the UK, but owing to a recent injury she said she is simply looking forward to competing again and doing her best.
She said: “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of running at the Olympic stadium and after months of being injured I’m just thankful I can make the event.
“The training is intensive as I’m currently running every day and clocking up around 50-60 miles a week. I’d like to take it as far as I can and maybe even become a professional athlete but right now I just have this weekend and the Olympic stadium in my sights.”
Cassie, who receives a Sports Scholarship from the University through the Sport & Recreation Department will join around 20 students from the University’s Athletics Club who will compete in a range of events at the Olympic Park between 4-7 May. They will be supported by around 30 University staff and students who will join them in London.
Paul Tilley, Head of Sport and Recreation, said that it was a fantastic opportunity for students to compete at the Olympic stadium.
“It’s the showpiece of the Olympics and the atmosphere created by a 60,000 strong audience is going to be electric. Competing at an event like this will be a massive inspiration to young athletes.”
Universities Week runs from 30 April–7 May and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.