OUTSTANDING local athlete, Jennifer Cruickshanks, has been selected to be part of an elite sport scholarship scheme.
Jennifer, of Lundin Links, has been given the opportunity to join the Robert Gordon University’s project, which allows up and coming athletes the opportunity to support athletic and academic careers at its £11m facility in Aberdeen.
A total of 21 top sporting students from a range of academic and athletic disciplines have been selected for the 2011-12 year’s scholarship.
First year child nursing student, Jennifer (18), began running while in primary school and, upon starting secondary school at Waid Academy, she joined her first running club – Anster Haddies.
From there, her passion for running has led her to success in hill, road and cross country running, plus 1500m, 3000m and steeplechase on track.
Recent achievements include third place in both the 1500m at the Scottish Universities Freshers Indoor Meet, plus at the U19 Scottish Junior Hill Running Championships, a silver medal for the 1500m in Italy at the Twin Town Olympiad and also a bronze medal in the Swedish relay.
Jennifer said: “Before I started the scholarship, I did very little strength and conditioning training, but now I’m doing two sessions each week and already feel my running is benefiting from it.
“The scholarship program will help me to become stronger and faster, making me better at my sport and allowing me to achieve a degree at the same time.”
Now in its sixth year, the scholarship scheme provides sports coaching, conditioning advice, physiological and performance testing, expert guidance on nutrition, sports science, performance and lifestyle management.
Financial assistance is also awarded to support travel, training, equipment and competition expenses accrued during the academic year.
Jennifer’s first claim association is the Fife Athletics Club, with which she trains when at home.
She also runs for Kingdom Athletic in national junior league track meets all over the UK during the summer.
Other budding sport stars joining Jennifer include golfer Jane Turner, archer Emily Blake, rugby players Geoff Dunne and Caitlin Sedgeworth, Olympic cross-country skier P. J. Barron, basketball star Ciara Newell, footballer Odmar Faeroe and table tennis player, Aurelie Bernadet.
Filippo Antoniazzi, director of sport at RGU, founded the scholarship in 2006, following the opening of the state-of-the-art sports facility.
He said: “Huge congratulations go to all the recipients of this year’s scholarship, which continues to go from strength to strength, encouraging some of Europe’s finest young athletes.
“This year’s intake features a lot of fresh and talented young sports men and women and we are looking forwarding to working with them to hone their abilities.”