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Alex developed a new set of blocks to help sprinters improve their starts
Alex developed a new set of blocks to help sprinters improve their starts
Starts off the blocks can make the difference between gold and silver medals against the toughest competition
Starts off the blocks can make the difference between gold and silver medals against the toughest competition

Press Release - 23 July 2008

Student designs prize-winning Olympic starting blocks

A student from the University of Bath has won a £500 prize and reached the final eight, in the 2008 Ideas 4 Innovation new researchers award competition. He will present his design to the judges in the final at the UK Sport offices in London on 25 July 2008.

The award is an initiative launched by UK Sport, an agency that works in partnership with sports councils and other companies to develop sport in the UK.

They are looking for talented young innovators to design a product that enhances elite performance and improves British athletes’ chances in preparation for the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Alex Animashaun, who is studying for a masters degree in sports engineering, launched his project by looking into the starting blocks that sprinters at the University’s Sports Training Village use.

After measuring and comparing information about the athletes’ performances, he quickly realised their starts can make the difference between gold and silver medals against the toughest competition.

He then developed a new set of blocks to help sprinters improve their starts. This new invention can measure force off the blocks, reaction times and speed on departure.

“My new starting blocks allow me to measure lots of information about the start. A good start can make the difference between winning or losing. I developed the new equipment and tested it on sprinters at the University, so I know it works,” said Alex, who also sprints for the University.

The equipment impressed the judges at UK Sport and Alex was awarded £500 as one of eight finalists in the competition. He now has the chance to compete for a one year research grant worth £25,000.

He will present his research proposal in front of a judging panel made up of renowned designers, researchers, academics and athletes on 25 July 2008 at the UK Sport offices in London.

“It's a great honour to represent the University in this competition. The departmental staff and technicians were really great at helping me move the project forward,” said Alex.

“It's also great to see that other people rate my work so highly and it'll be really interesting to see what other people have done.”


The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/

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