Two-time Paralympic gold medallist Maisie aiming even higher with uni scholarship

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A double gold Paralympic medallist at the very top of her sport believes she can become even better – thanks to her university.

Swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton (pictured) shot to fame last summer with her record-breaking performances in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, and was later recognised for her achievements when she was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Maisie, who is studying to be a primary school teacher at the University of Northampton, has set her sights on this summer’s Commonwealth Games – and thinks she’ll have an extra edge after signing up for the uni’s Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship Programme.

The initiative offers student athletes a support network that allows them to balance the demands of performance sport with academic study. The scheme gives athletes access to nutritionists, psychological and physio support on campus.

“My goal is to progress my gym work and to make use of all the support offered here,” said Maisie. “Before I would have to travel to a gym and a nutritionist and others all in different locations. Now everything’s all in the same place here at Waterside campus.

“I’m hoping the extra support the scholarship gives me will help me to push my performances even further.”

Archer, Ruby Paul, is another student benefiting from the scholarship. The Sport Rehabilitation and Conditioning student has represented Team GB at youth level and is now aiming for a place in the Paris 2024 Olympics squad.

Ranked as the seventh-best women’s archer in the UK, Ruby said: “This scholarship will 100 percent help me in my goal of representing my country at the Paris Games.

“I receive so much support that would normally be really difficult to access, due to my studies. But having everything on campus means I can concentrate on my course and my archery.”

The scholarship is overseen by the University’s Applied Sport Scientist, Luke Callis, who joined UON in 2021 from the then-Premier League side, Sheffield United, where he worked in the Blades’ academy. 

Luke said: “I think the support of people like Maisie and Ruby shows how far the University has come. Our aim is to make this a real regional hub for high-performance sport.

“Coming from a background in elite sports, I hope to bring that same approach to the athletes here.

“An advantage we have is that we offer the scholarship for 15 scholars at a time, with hopes of maybe expanding it to 20 in the future. So, we can give that much more personal approach versus some of the bigger programmes where it can feel like you’re a little fish in a very big pond.”

Find out more about the Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship