Paralympian, world record-holder and Hartpury graduate Mel Nicholls gave an inspirational talk about her successful sports career to undergraduates at Hartpury University.
Mel, who graduated from Hartpury with an Equine Science degree, discussed a wide range of topics, including her experiences as an athlete, the health and fitness support she receives to help her perform to a high level, and which training techniques worked best.
She spoke to students enrolled on the following courses: BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning, BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences, BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Nutrition, BSc (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport and FdSc Sport Performance and Coaching.
The visit came just weeks after Mel, who competed at the 2012 Paralympics in London and the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, smashed the world record for handcycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
She completed the 874-mile Handcycle Britain challenge in six days, 22 hours and 18 minutes – beating the previous record by more than three days.
Before starting the epic journey, Mel underwent testing in the state-of-the-art human performance laboratory at the new £8.8 million Sports Academy at Hartpury.
“I’m always happy to return to Hartpury – it’s a place I have very fond memories about from my time as student,” said Mel.
“I was delighted to be invited in as a guest speaker and hopefully the students, who were a fantastic audience, thought it was time well spent listening to what I had to say.
“I certainly enjoyed the experience – the students asked some really interesting questions – and I’m looking to forward to many more visits to Hartpury in the future.”
Dr Gareth Knox, Principal Lecturer and Programme Manager (Masters in Research), said the current student cohort would take inspiration from Mel’s achievements since graduating from Hartpury.
“We’re extremely grateful to Mel for giving up time from her busy schedule to speak to our sports degree students,” he said.
“She gave a real insight into the important work that goes into supporting elite athletes and highlighted some of the tasks they might face in their future careers in the sports industry, perhaps as strength and conditioning coaches or sports physiotherapists.
“As a Hartpury graduate herself, I’m sure Mel’s visit will have a really positive affect on our current students and demonstrate what can be achieved by approaching any challenge with a positive attitude and a determination to always do your best.”
Picture: Mel Nicholls