Making a big leap towards Olympic success

An inspirational sporting star who will be going for gold in Rio 2016 is set to be awarded a prestigious scholarship from the University of Sheffield, helping her make a leap towards Olympic success.

Jazmin going for gold

Rising star Jazmin Sawyers, will tomorrow (Friday 30 November 2012) receive the first ever Ennis Scholarship Award from the University of Sheffield's Elite Sports Performance Scheme (ESPS), in light of her outstanding sporting success.

Named after Olympic golden girl and University of Sheffield alumna, Jessica Ennis, the award will be presented during a highly anticipated An Evening with Jessica Ennis event to be held at Sheffield's City Hall.

This year Jazmin achieved a silver medal at the Winter Youth Olympics and a bronze medal at the World Junior Athletics Championships, before beginning a Law and Criminology degree at the University of Sheffield.

The 18-year-old long jump prodigy, who is originally from Stoke-On-Trent, recently moved to the city and joined Toni Minichiello's training group alongside Sheffield's own Jessica Ennis.

Reaching great heightsThe determined athlete was initially talent-spotted by the British Bobsleigh Association and took silver in the Winter Youth Olympics in Austria earlier this year.

Jazmin moved from the ice onto the athletics track becoming a sensational heptathlete before choosing to focus her efforts on a single event – the long jump.

The decision paid off for Jazmin as she finished this summer as the number one ranked junior long jumper in the world after jumping a massive personal best at the Olympic trials where she beat London 2012 gold medallist Jessica Ennis.

Tomorrow's special event will be hosted by fellow University of Sheffield alumnus and sports presenter Dan Walker and is expected to raise thousands of pounds for the Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity's Make it Better Appeal - which aims to transform the Children's Hospital in Sheffield into a world class environment for patients; the Christian charity Taste, and the University's ESPS.

The ESPS, of which Jessica Ennis is a patron, was launched in 2010 to provide financial and non-financial support to talented student athletes at the University, who are representing their country and competing at international level.

"I think Jessica has shown that it is possible to go through your studies and get your degree and still be the best in the world," said Jazmin.

"I think for her to be patron of the scholarship is fantastic. For students training to be a world class athlete this support is really valuable."

Jazmin will be awarded £1,500 through the scholarship helping her to achieve her sporting and academic dreams. Next summer Jazmin will compete in the European Juniors and then hopefully the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "Our Elite Sports Scholarship Scheme is a very important thing for the University.

"It enables students who are elite performers in their own field to do their very best but also to be great students at the University.

"We have some wonderful elite sports men and women as students in Sheffield at the moment and we want to do all we can to make sure their potential for winning Olympic medals in Brazil at the Olympics in 2016 is realised."

Dr Philip Harvey, Registrar and Secretary of the University of Sheffield, said: "Our Elite Sports Performance Scheme aims to support talented young athletes to receive the support they need to help them excel in their studies and the sporting arena.

"Jessica Ennis is an inspirational patron and we hope that students like Jazmin will, with our help, become the sporting champions of tomorrow."

It is hoped that the support of the ESPS will inspire the next generation of University of Sheffield athletes to become World or Olympic Champions in their sport.

The highest level of support includes a scholarship worth £1,000, which has been generously donated by local companies, alumni and friends of the University.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations, said: "We are extremely grateful to the alumni, staff, friends and organisations that made donations to help the Elite Sports Performance Scholarship continue its fantastic work.

"It is with their help that elite student athletes, like Jazmin, can perform at the highest level, whilst receiving a world-class degree from the University of Sheffield."

Tickets for An Evening with Jessica Ennis, at £15, £20 and £30, are available from Sheffield City Hall box office via their website, in person or over the phone: 0114 2789 789.

Additional information

Elite Sports Performance Scheme
The Elite Sports Performance Scheme enables elite athletes wishing to study at the University of Sheffield with the opportunities and support needed to ensure they can be successful not only in the sporting arena but in the academic one too. Any student representing their country at international level will have the opportunity to apply. For more information about the Elite Sports Performance Scheme visit ESPS.

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859