Bath Paralympian Ben Rushgrove will cross the academic finishing line next week when he graduates at the University of Bath’s winter award ceremonies (Tuesday 15 December and Wednesday 16 December).
Ben, aged 21, will receive a BSc (Hons) in Sports Performance on Wednesday 16 December, at Bath’s Assembly Rooms. He is one of over 700 students to receive their degrees at the two days of ceremonies.
Ben has cerebral palsy and competed at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008, winning a silver medal in the T36 100m (his classification of disability event). He broke the T36 200m world record in 2007.
Earlier in the year Ben was voted University of Bath Sports Personality of the Year. He is coached by a research student at the University, Rob Ellchuk, in a training group that includes disabled and able-bodied students.
Ben said: “I’m really proud to be receiving my degree. Being at University has helped to shape who I am and enabled me to grow as a person. It’s helped me to be able to tackle Beijing and other competitions. Without being at Bath I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have.”
Ben finished a part-time Foundation Degree in Sports Performance last year and has completed a further year of study to gain his Batchelor’s degree (BSc).
The part-time Foundation degree gives young sports people the opportunity to study at degree-level in a subject they excel at, while still pursuing their sporting goals. Students learn about the key components of a successful athlete to give them the best possible opportunity of maximising their potential.
Nicky Fossey-Lewis, Deputy Director of Training & Development in the University’s Department of Sports Development and Recreation said: “Ben is an inspirational example of how young athletes can combine the flexible academic opportunities at Bath with outstanding sporting achievement.”
James Fern, Program Leader for the Sports Performance degree, said: “Ben was always a model student whilst studying for his degree and all staff who have taught him would comment on what a pleasure it was to have someone who contributes to discussions so readily in the classroom.
“Managing to combine the demands of full time athletic training with a part time degree is a great achievement and Ben should be very proud, this should hopefully serve as inspiration for other athletes who hope to combine full time training and education.”
Ben will continue to train at the University and is aiming for further success at the London 2012 Games, as well as the World Championships in New Zealand in 2011.
He will also be part of the British Paralympic team’s preparation camps to be hosted at the University in the build-up to the Games.