The University of Birmingham is well represented in Team GB’s squads for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Testament to the strength of sport at Birmingham, a total of two current students and eleven alumni will be heading to Tokyo.
The Tokyo Olympic Games kicks off on Wednesday 21 July and continues until Sunday 8 August. The Paralympic Games will then take place shortly after, starting on Tuesday 24 August, and finishing two weeks later on Sunday 5 September.
Current second-year student-athlete Oliver Dustin will compete for Great Britain in the 800m. The Chemistry student’s progress to the Olympics is the latest step in his stunning year on the track, having recently smashed Sebastian Coe’s British under-23 800m record in Nice – a mark which had stood since 1978 – moving him to sixth in Britain’s all-time outdoor rankings.
Joining Oliver is current PhD student Ali Jawad. The 2016 Paralympic silver medallist and former world champion has been named in Great Britain’s five-person powerlifting squad. Ali will be competing in his fourth Games in the men’s up to 59kg class. Having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Ali’s selection is a simply stunning achievement.
Music Alumna Naomi Folkard will be heading to her fifth Olympic Games! Naomi is an experienced member of the team having competed at the Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016) Olympic Games. From Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Folkard has medalled at the last two World Championships, earning bronze in both the Recurve mixed team and Recurve women’s team. She medalled at World Cups, World Games, Commonwealth Games, and European Games, as well as the World Field Championships in 2018 winning a silver medal.
Competing at the Paralympics is 2009 Physiotherapy graduate and Para Triathlete Alison Peasgood and her guide Nikki Bartlett who graduated in 2008 with a Sports, Physical Education, and Coaching Science degree. Alison earned a silver medal in 2016 at the Rio Paralympic Games (Paratriathlon: PTVI), and the pair will no doubt have their heart set on a medal in Tokyo.
Alumna Laura Sugar will compete in Tokyo for Team GB, having been selected as part of the Paracanoe squad. Laura made an instant impact in paracanoe after an incredible debut season during 2019, accumulating three international medals, so will be one to watch in Tokyo!
Paralympic and world champion cyclist Lora Fachie MBE is also off to Tokyo – her third Paralympic Games! Lora is a University of Birmingham Physiotherapy graduate
Finally, three out of the sixteen-strong Great Britain women’s hockey team heading to Tokyo are UoB alumnae. Following her gold medal success at Rio 2016, Lily Owsley MBE will no doubt play a crucial role for the team in Tokyo, and fellow alumna Anna Toman (graduated in 2014), Hannah Martin (2016) have also been named in the confirmed squad. A further two UoB alumnae, Sarah Evans (graduated in 2012) and Amy Costello, have been selected as P-Accredited Reserves so will be called upon if there is an illness or injury in the squad.
Peter Purcell-Gilpin who is a UoB graduate and previous sports scholar is also heading to Tokyo. Representing Zimbabwe, Peter will be competing in the Rowing Regatta. Peter has also been announced as the opening ceremony flag bearer for Zimbabwe!
Commenting on this success, Director of Sport Andy Allford said:
“We are so proud to have such a large representation at the Games, of both students and alumni. This is a real testament to the strength of our sporting setup at Birmingham. We look forward to following their progress in Tokyo, and from everyone at University of Birmingham Sport, we wish them the very best of luck!
If you or anyone else you know is competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games who is also a University of Birmingham alumni, please get in touch. We would love to highlight them.