Egypt’s first ever Olympic badminton competitor to graduate from her ‘second home’

Hadia Hosny El Said will graduate this winter from Bath, on Tuesday 11 December, having represented her country at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Hadia, 23, came to the University from her native country Egypt to study for an MSc in Medical Biosciences.

She made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games when a last minute promotion from reserve just 13 days before the start of the Games saw her become the first Egyptian badminton player to compete at an Olympic Games.

After the excitement of her first Olympics, Hadia sought to continue studying at a university where she could combine her academic and sporting activities. Hadia chose the University of Bath having taken advice from former British Olympian Richard Vaughan; a previous trainee at Bath and manager of the World Badminton Federation’s Road to London Project in Africa.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for teaching and Learning Bernie Morley congratulates Hadia on her Olympic achievement

During her time at Bath, Hadia received a high standard of badminton coaching by former international Pete Bush, the head badminton coach at the University, who also coached Vaughan.

He said: “Hadia has been a joy to coach and work with, she is considerate, punctual, reliable, hard-working and always in a good mood. She has outstanding organisational skills and has the ability to combine studying with full-time training.

“She organises her badminton and physical training around her seminars & lectures and completed assignments and exams whilst continuing to travel around the world playing tournaments.

“Hadia is an extraordinary young woman. In the short time that I have known her, I have seen many examples of her talent and been impressed by her diligence and work ethic.”

Her graduation is testament to her ability to balance the demands of academic application and elite training.

Having achieved her original goal of qualifying for the 2012 Games as the highest ranked women’s African player, this summer she proudly represented Egypt and the University of Bath in the Games but sadly didn’t progress beyond the group stages.

Dr Momna Hejmadi, Hadia’s course tutor, in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, said: “Hadia chose to come to Bath on our MSc Medical Biosciences programme, despite being offered scholarships from other UK universities. She has been very impressive in maintaining high academic standards in parallel with her intensive training commitments, completing coursework assignments from various global locations.

“She has been an inspirational ambassador to both her peers and school students and it has been a pleasure to have known her.”

For Hadia, the University holds a special place in her heart. She said: “I really enjoyed my time at Bath so much and although I had to travel a lot for tournaments, I was always looking forward to getting back home to the University.”

“The facilities were fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for more - the great badminton courts, an awesome gym and personal trainers as well as facilities such as an ice bath, hydro pool and physiotherapists made such a difference.”

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